Walking on the side of religious harmony

Participants of the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle Walk-In-Harmony at Bukit Panjang Gospel Chapel yesterday. More than 3,000 people from nine constituencies took part in the walk.
Participants of the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle Walk-In-Harmony at Bukit Panjang Gospel Chapel yesterday. More than 3,000 people from nine constituencies took part in the walk.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

For about two hours yesterday, the early risers in purple T-shirts sought out places of worship in the north-western part of Singapore.

They walked from one place of worship to another for the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) Walk-In-Harmony.

Participants started from their individual constituencies in the area and were divided into seven routes. But all finished their walk at the ITE College West in Choa Chu Kang.

On one route, participants visited Murugan Hill Temple, Bukit Panjang Gospel Chapel, Masjid Al- Khair, Choa Chu Kang Combined Temple, Leng Hup San Chee Chea Temple and the Methodist Church of The Incarnation.

Altogether, more than 3,000 people from nine constituencies took part in the walk, covering 25km. They visited a total of 19 religious and community organisations.

First held in 2009, the walk aims to raise the public's understanding of different religions here and promote unity between races.

Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, also the Mayor of South West District, said IRCCs play an important role in "strengthening the bonds of trust and understanding" in communities here.

"As we walk alongside each other, visiting different places of worship, we are also making a statement of solidarity: That though we may have different cultures and religions, we are intrinsically Singaporean."

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong also took part in the walk.

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'Walking on the side of religious harmony'. Print Edition | Subscribe