KL archbishop pays visit to mufti in 'historic' meeting

Mufti Zulkifli (in black) embracing Archbishop Leow in the ground-breaking meeting on Thursday. The two leaders shared views on the importance of being tolerant towards each other's religion.
Mufti Zulkifli (in black) embracing Archbishop Leow in the ground-breaking meeting on Thursday. The two leaders shared views on the importance of being tolerant towards each other's religion.PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF MUFTI ZULKIFLI

KUALA LUMPUR • A "historic" meeting took place between Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim and Mufti Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri, top Islamic leader of Malaysia's Federal Territories, on Thursday.

The top-level meeting is widely seen as ground-breaking, amid occasional tensions between the majority Malaysian Muslims and non-Muslims, following several court cases that pitched the Islamic courts against its non-Muslim minority.

Islamic leaders appointed by the government, including the muftis, often avoid official contact with top non-Muslim Malaysian leaders as they do not wish for Islam, the country's official religion, to be seen as being on equal terms with other religions.

Datuk Zulkifli, on his Facebook page, described the visit to his office as "unprecedented" and "historic".

"The move was refreshing, as this was the first time a religious leader has made a courtesy call to my office," he told The Star Online.

"We looked at what we have in common, not our differences," said Dr Zulkifli, adding that they shared views on the importance of being tolerant towards each other's religion.

Dr Zulkifli also said the Archbishop invited him to visit the church, which he said he would consider. "God willing, I will do it," he said.

The Muslim cleric thanked the Global Unity Network, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), for arranging the visit, and said he was grateful for the joint effort made by his office, the NGO and Archbishop Leow to build understanding and religious harmony, especially between Islam and Christianity.

"I am thankful to the Reverend for this courtesy call. I would also like to thank Shah Kirit from the Global Unity Network for this noble effort. May Allah bless us all," he said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2016, with the headline 'KL archbishop pays visit to mufti in 'historic' meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe