Friday, September 04, 2009

‘Cow head’ protest : A black day for ethnic relations

Adapt to accommodate diversity

The controversial “cow-head” protest just before the 52nd Merdeka Day marred the joy and the true spirit of the celebrations. It was an indication of the failure of inter-ethnic relations which was once the pride of our nation and the envy of others. While peaceful demonstrations should be allowed but those who ridicule or insult other races or religions must not be tolerated for whatever reasons.

Only prompt and stern action against the perpetrators will discourage others from resorting to such mean and shameful acts. The police must act professionally without fear or favor to thwart such provocative behavior in its bud by any group regardless of their race, religion or political affiliations. Failing to do so will result in severe repercussions that will be detrimental to the peace and harmony that we are blessed with all these years.

It is notable that recent years have witnessed a growth in religious fundamentalism throughout the world. Rising fundamentalism is a problem for all religions and can be said to be a major cause of inter-religious conflicts throughout the history of mankind. Although religious fundamentalism is inevitable it should be kept in check to preserve the inter-ethnic peace in a multi-racial and multi-religious society.

All religions teach good; promoting goodwill and love for fellow men particularly from other faiths. None teaches its members to look down and spite another. Fortunately the vast majority of the followers of all religions are liberal in their outlook and they want to live peacefully with mutual respect for the believes, cultures and traditions of those from other faiths.

However it is sad that a small section of them succumb to fanaticism due to skewed interpretation of their religious teachings. It is vital for the liberal-minded majority in every religious community to stop their own fanatic minority from resorting to actions that would not only create chaos and turmoil among the various races but also tarnishing the sanctity of their own religion. It must be remembered that the respect and esteem a religion commands depends on the way its followers treat not their own members but the members of others religions, their perceived ‘enemies’.

A simple issue of a temple relocation has been blown out of proportion by political opportunists. This is a very serious and dangerous issue that must be tacked with utmost care and steps taken to prevent such acts in the future. The government’s intention to host talks between the Muslim and Hindu residents should be lauded, as dialogue in the spirit of goodwill and mutual understanding, is the only right way to solve the problem amicably.

I am sure Malaysians have attained the maturity to resolve their inter-ethnic disputes in a peaceful and civil manner without political interference. I am sure by now Malaysians would realize that they are all here to stay for good or bad, the faster they sort out their ethnic problems the better for all. There is no option but to adapt themselves to live side by side amidst all their cultural and religious diversity. Learning to coexist harmoniously is the key to lasting peace and progress.

Although we hope for a win-win outcome for all parties but often that will not be possible. Winning or losing is not the issue here but whether we want to foster a cordial atmosphere where we can live together in harmony as fellow Malaysians. If we want to achieve that, then we must be prepared to lose a little at times for the sake of the general well being of the nation. Doing so we may appear to be losers in the eyes of men but we will be the real winners in the eyes of God, whom we claim to defend at all costs.

When we see so much violence in the name of God, it makes me wonder who needs whose protection, whether God needs ours or we need his. Amidst all these uncertainties one thing is sure; if we continue to do what God truly wants us to, then He will always protect us without we imploring.


Dr.Chris Anthony

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Survival group against God?? LOL. Good luck with that. Truth is, no one knows the exact time this will happen except the man upstairs, however, I firmly believe that there are people placed here by God that post the warning signs and it's up to you to take heed.
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