web counter The Madness of MokcikNab: Every Man Must Go to Heaven in His Own Way
The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Every Man Must Go to Heaven in His Own Way

That's the title of Aliran's media statement earlier this month. I found this website after I posted the entry below, and thought it was appropriate to include this here.
The Star published this piece, but it was heavily edited. The parts in bold were the ones left out.
Aliran Media Statement

Every man must go to heaven in his own way

There is no doubt that there is an urgent need to reach out and embrace each other as fellow Malaysians and children of a compassionate God. It is this commonality that should unite us as citizens and enable us to live as brothers and sisters in spite of our adherence to different faiths.

Our religious upbringing and background and the lessons of virtue imparted by our various traditions should guide us to be models of moderation, compassion and tolerence which are rooted in the core value of justice.

But it doesn’t seem that easy.

There are certain exponents of every faith who are bent on being the spoilers by proclaiming that theirs is the only way in absolutist terms and exclusive rights. In their bigotry, they drive in the religious and ethnic wedges that keep us apart rather than bringing us together.

In the light of this, it is very timely for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to assert, “This is why I believe it is important to call for moderation in our respective religions. If we fail to do so, we risk having our religion hijacked by those who promote hatred and violence.”

It is precisely for this reason why it is so necessary for responsible leaders and concerned individuals to embark on a concerted effort to rein in these disruptive elements. They are few but bold and loud and abrasive and therefore get to be noticed and heard. They come across as the dorminant voice of the community.

It is rather unfortunate that the many who who do not share their views or support their extremism and who are in the majority do not speak up or stand up to oppose these disruptive elements. By not speaking up or standing up in support of good values and opposing these disruptive elements in our midst we indeed give them the free licence to hijack and portray our religions in the negative light of intolerence and extremism.

If only earlier efforts in forging unity, tolerence and religious understanding and cooperation undertaken by various individuals and NGOs had received the much needed support, perhaps we need not be in this difficult situation we find ourselves in today.

In 1980, Aliran organised a seminar on “Belief in God” which brought together leaders and individuals from various religions to blaze a common path of tolerence, accommodation and understanding. This seminar produced a book, “One God Many Paths” which is now out of print

On various occasions we have called for the setting up of an Inter-Religious Council which could promptly and sensitively address any religious strife that is bound to emerge occasionally.

As recently as last year, the Bar Council made a bold and valiant attempt to establish a similar council but its efforts were thwarted by certain views and individuals.

It is in light of this that we welcome Abdullah’s passionate plea, “What we need more than ever today is a concerned effort to initiate
inter-faith dialogue.”

This is the only way to sideline and marginalise the extremist elements out to cause trouble. This is the only way to drive home the truth that it is not your way or my way that is important. What is important is the right way that accommodates and tolerates our commonality in our shared destiny.

Let each man be aware of the wisdom in these words, “All religions must be tolerated …every man must go to heaven in his own way.”

P Ramakrishnan
4 August 2004


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