Selamat Hari Natal: My message of peace
The many faces of our society have weaved our social fabric into a unique one, one that depicts a diverse yet united society. We have lived in this diversity ever since Malacca was a busy port of international merchants and traders. There, our history began and developed to become one of the most diverse societies and that finally was embodied in the formation of an independent Malaya, along with Sabah and Sarawak, which the world knows today as the Federation of Malaysia.
We also live in a society today where diverse faiths have formed the basic character of Malaysia. Islam as the religion of the state recognises the necessity for others to practise their faiths in harmony and respect. Today, our fellow Malaysians of the Christian faith celebrate Christmas in a joyful and merry mood.
While every faith has its own unique celebration and manner in which it symbolises its gratitude during its respective celebration, I, as a fellow Malaysian and Muslim urge all Christians to continue the journey of peaceful relationship among the various faiths and to cherish our diversity as a sign of The Creator, the Almighty.
As a Muslim, I was taught by my Prophets including Isa Ibnu Maryam (peace be upon all of them) to cherish diversity and to live with respect for others. I was told by my Book (Al Quran) that it is vital I live strongly with my faith but at the same time to strongly accept diversity and live with respect (for others).
It is within this context that my conviction of a peaceful interfaith relationship has turned into a sacred struggle where the soldiers of peace and the bridge builders come together not to draw their sword on ‘others’ but to convey the message of PEACE OR SALAM, with full COMPASSION and LOVE, with DIGNITY and PRIDE.
I stand today as a fellow Malaysian in your Christmas celebration to call you to fight with me against injustice, racism and religious extremism and to say with a clear voice, “WE LOVE THIS NATION AND WE WILL NOT SURRENDER TO THOSE WHO WANT TO DESTROY IT IN THE NAME OF EXTREMISM AND TYRANNY.”
Let the celebration deservedly be for those who have the right to celebrate it today – it is my duty as a Muslim and Malaysian to protect that right. May your celebration of Christmas bring joy and happineess to all Malaysians; and forget not the poor and the needy because it is to them that we should bring joy and happiness.
“… You will find that the nearest in love to Muslim believers are those who say: We are Christians – because among them are priests as well as monks for these never puff themselves up. And when they listen to the message of the Quran handed down to the messenger Muhammad, you see their eyes overflowing with tears. For they perceive at once its truth, and they pray: O Lord, we believe – write us down among the witnesses” (Al Maidah 5: 82-83).
Selamat Hari Natal.
Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa is the Member of Parliament for Parit Buntar.