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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Beware of religious intolerance, Sabahans cautioned

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah does not have any problem with religious intolerance although the people must be cautious, lest they be influenced by such sentiments which can destroy the society here, warned Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah.

Its president, Lajim Ukin, said Sabahans should continue to be a model of unity in the country.

“Religious intolerance so far is restricted to the peninsula. Here, there are many Chinese coffee shops renting space for halal food sellers. It is normal to see a nasi lemak stall next to a Chinese stall.

“The people of different faiths can share one table. Our people do not mind. We do not have the problem of religious bigotry,” he told FMT.

The Klias assemblyman said he was bemused by the sudden rise of religious intolerance and insisted that the people should be discerning in accepting any teaching or idea.

Sometimes, he said, there were things that should not be done so as to show respect towards others of different faiths.

What was more important, he said, was for the people of different faiths to have confidence in their own beliefs.

“For example in Islam, there are deviant teachings that claim to be Islamic that we should not follow.

“If the teachings can harm the peace and harmony among the multiracial and multi-religious society, forget them,” he said.

Lajim said he hoped such growing extremism would not reach Sabah, otherwise it could tear apart the fabric of its society by alienating family members from one another.

“In Sabah, almost all families have members who are of different faiths. Even in my own family, I have relatives who are Christians.

“During Christmas, I will go to their houses. They cook and I eat their food. Similarly, during Hari Raya, they will come to my house and eat with us. There is no problem at all,” he said.

In recent times, religious authorities in the peninsula have had to deal with a range of sensitive issues relating to Muslims, such as the Muslim-only launderettes in Muar and Perlis, the detention of Turkish scholar Mustafa Akyol for speaking on Islam without official credentials and the cancellation of the Better Beer Festival in Kuala Lumpur. - By Tracy Patrick

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