Religious harmony in action

Both the report ("Speak with one moderate voice against extremism: Yaacob") and editorial ("Terror of losing religious peace") published last Wednesday urged Singaporeans of all faiths to help create religious harmony.

On Jan 23, as a guest of the Abdeali Tayebali Family Trust, I witnessed exactly the coming together in perfect harmony of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists and Christians.

The Muslim family, in collaboration with the Jamiyah Singapore and the Singapore Indian Association, conferred a singular honour on a Christian for being a "Community Leader Extraordinaire".

To the 100-odd guests of all faiths and no-faith, the Abdeali Tayebali Lifetime Achievement Award given to my friend, Dr William Wan, the general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, was most inspiring.

In his moving acceptance speech, Dr Wan said that the award sent an important message to our fellow Singaporeans and to others around us that, in Singapore, we value and practise religious harmony.

Dr Wan believes that we can practise our respective faiths passionately without disrespecting other faith traditions.

The award is a significant and practical example of how kindness is a shared value found in our hearts that can bring people of all races, languages and religions together to celebrate our common humanity.

That simple kind act by a Muslim family conferred upon a Christian in collaboration with an Indian association makes me proud to be a Singaporean in these challenging times.

Gervis Chua (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'Religious harmony in action'. Print Edition | Subscribe