Dif­fer­ent faiths, same val­ues

New Straits Times - - Letters -

CHRIS­TIANS are in the midst of the Lent sea­son, a pe­riod of 40 days be­fore Easter.

Easter is the Chris­tian cel­e­bra­tion of Je­sus’s res­ur­rec­tion three days af­ter he was cru­ci­fied and buried, thus pro­claim­ing vic­tory over sin and death. This year, Easter falls on Sun­day, April 16.

One of my most mem­o­rable Easters was 30 years ago, al­most to the day.

I had just ar­rived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, (one of the world’s most pop­u­lous Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries) to take up my as­sign­ment as the head of the United Na­tions/In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UN/ILO) coun­try of­fice.

With Easter just around the corner, the chief tech­ni­cal ad­viser (CTA) of one of our UN/ILO tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion coun­try projects, a Ro­man Catholic, or­gan­ised a sim­ple Easter get-to­gether at his home.

He in­vited of­fi­cials as­so­ci­ated with the project.

There were about 30 guests and project per­son­nel, seated ca­su­ally within earshot of each other, mostly Mus­lims with a few Chris­tians and Hin­dus — re­flect­ing the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion com­po­si­tion.

The main guest was the chair­man of the na­tional ho­tel and tourism cor­po­ra­tion, un­der which agency the train­ing cen­tre was es­tab­lished.

A short while af­ter the chair­man walked in, he called out to the CTA and said some­thing like: “Michael, you’ve got us all here for an Easter get-to­gether. Tell us what it’s all about and how it re­lates to us in any way.”

Michael po­litely passed that re­quest over to the Arch­bishop of Dhaka, the head of the Ro­man Catholic Met­ro­pol­i­tan Arch­dio­cese, also a guest.

The bishop said the mes­sage of Easter was one of love, hope, peace and joy, from death to life.

When he had fin­ished, an el­derly work­ers’ union leader, an Is­lamic scholar, de­clared that Mus­lims be­lieve in Je­sus as a prophet sent by God. He told those gath­ered that fol­low­ers of Is­lam, too, were ex­horted to spread com­pas­sion, love and peace as con­tained in the Qu­ran.

An­other guest, a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman, said re­li­gious fes­ti­vals cre­ated an op­por­tu­nity for those of dif­fer­ent faiths to come to­gether to share their thoughts and work to­gether for so­cial har­mony in the coun­try and the well­be­ing of all hu­man­ity.

A Hindu ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant with the project added that the Hindu scrip­tures also ex­tolled the virtues of love and re­spect for all liv­ing be­ings.

A while later, the chair­man an­nounced that he would host the next get-to­gether at the time of Eid-ul-Fitr and asked oth­ers to do like­wise on other oc­ca­sions.

RUEBEN DUD­LEY Pe­tal­ing Jaya, Se­lan­gor

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.