Faith and Unity – Current Realities and the Way Forward
The Kairos Dialogue Network (KDN) and the Islamic Information Centre (IIC), Sarawak collaborated to organise a dialogue in an atmosphere of cordial relations and mutual benefit, at the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre (ACCPC) located in the grounds of St Joseph’s Cathedral Parish, Kuching on 9 April.
The theme for the dialogue was “Faith and Unity – Current Realities and the Way Forward”. The esteemed panel speakers at this dialogue were Professor Datin Dr Azizan bt Baharuddin, Director General of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) and Associate Professor Dr Helen Ting, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Malaysian & International Studies (IKMAS) UKM.
The dialogue was attended by the Mayor of Kuching North City Hall, Yang Berbahagia Datuk Haji Abang Abdul Wahap Bin Abang Julai, representatives from member churches of the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) and Kuching Ministers’ Fellowship, representatives from Islamic NGOs as well as representatives from the Islamic Information Centre (IIC), Sarawak. There were 20 Christian and 17 Muslim representatives, excluding the speakers, moderator and oragnisers who participated in the Dialogue. There was also a good representation from the Catholic Church.
The genesis of this event was precipitated by recent happenings in the country that resulted in increasing misconceptions and misperceptions amongst Muslims and Christians. These events raise concern for both faith communities as our destinies and welfare are inextricably connected. As Malaysians, whether Muslims or Christians, or people of other faiths for that matter, we seek to build a better shared future for ourselves, our children and our children’s children.
The dialogue attempted to candidly, respectfully and with acceptance of each other’s views, address issues of how our faiths may bring about harmony and peaceful co-existence in our society. In this dialogue, friendships were deepened and understanding enhanced. We believe this dialogue, in searching for the common good, can help the two faith communities, to begin confronting hard issues together, constructively and with positive outcomes.
We are hopeful that many more of such dialogues will take place not only between Kairos Dialogue Network and Islamic Information Centre but between people of every walk of life whenever possible. This augurs well for multi-religious Sarawak and for Malaysia.
Islamic Information Centre (IIC), Sarawak
Kairos Dialogue Network, Petaling Jaya
Today’s Catholic Vol.28 No.2 May 2016