"... I believe it is important for the citizens of this country to realize that tolerance of other religions goes beyond mere coexistence. It also means engaging with one another... building a permanent bridge of cooperation through mutual participation. I come here not just as the Prime Minister of the host country, but as a Muslim who wants to initiate a dialogue with his Christian friends. So that we are able to talk in a world in this seems increasingly difficult to do so."
Above are a brief quote from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's speech (Well, of course when he was our Prime Minister) for the Commission of Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, 3rd August 2004. What I want to highlight here in his speech is this: "Building a permanent bridge of cooperation through mutual participation." Let me summaries it this way, 'Building a Bridge'.
Now we all know that there's a tension between religions in this country. Okay come on, let's be real, this is not a secret no more. Talks on peace seem to be useless if we're trying to center the main point is unity in religious. It's not just useless but dangerous. We may tolerate one another but for how long? So, to building relationship through religions in this country or any part of the world is not very relevant, at least in my opinion. All we have to do is to recall back our history to learn that this is such a bad idea. Further more, it may break us more than unite us together. So... How?
The most basic factor for building relationship is this - find our similarity that we agree on and work on it. In his remarkable book, Winning with People, John C. Maxwell writes about the 100 Percent Principle: "Find the 1 percent we agree on and give it 100 percent of our effort." So what is our common similarity? During Chawkat Moucarry visits to Malaysia, 19th August 2010, in one of the local church here in Petaling Jaya, he said;
"We are one in humanity. All human beings have been created the same way by the same God. One Creator. We're God's special and privileged creatures. We are all brothers and sisters in humanity, and we all belong to the same human family. We have the same dignity and human rights and duties."
Didn't you find that this is true? That we're all are human beings, created the same way, brothers and sisters in humanity? Belong to the same human family? We have dignity and human rights? This is what we should focus on! Build the bridge on our similarity, that is- our humanity.
See the other person who maybe difference in color, religious background, physical appearances; handicap or normal, or nationality with a new perspective in mind. See one another as human beings who have the same needs and dignity. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman (John 4), Roman officers (John 4), tax collector (Luke 19), the Greeks (John 12), the blinds and the lepers, he welcome them as a human being who were in needs.
Haris Ibrahim, the founder of 'Saya anak bangsa Malaysia' said in one of his talks that I had a privilege to be there, shared about what he filled up on a form when he wants to renew his gun license. He said, "On the paper, I write…
Name: Haris Ibrahim,
Adress: [his own address],
Race: Human Race!!!"
Yes, from now on, in your conscious mind, a new perspective to live by, your race is no more- malay, chinese, indian or dan lain-lain (others), your race is HUMAN RACE! Lets Building a Bridge toward one another by our common similarity -Humanity. Peace be with Malaysia!