Muslims, Christians hold joint break fast event at adjoining mosque, church in Sarawak's Miri

Mosque and church leaders exchanging goodies in front of the Good Shepherd Church (with red roof) and An-Naim Mosque in Sarawak. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MIRI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Muslims and Christians held a joint break fast session at a mosque and church built next to each other near Miri City, in Malaysia's state of Sarawak.

The event yesterday was attended by Muslims and Christians from the Anglican, Catholic, Sidang Injil Borneo and Methodist churches and has become a unique tradition that reflects the special bond between people here of all faiths.

The An-Naim Mosque and Good Shepherd Church are less than 100m from each other in the Lutong bazaar, located about 10km north of Miri City.

The management of the mosque and church share their car parks with each other.

On Fridays, the church will open its gate to let Muslims park their vehicles during prayer time.

On Sundays, the mosque will open its gate to let Christian churchgoers use the carpark.

On special occasions such as the sessions known as buka puasa, both the Muslims and Christians will come together for dinner.

Yesterday, Imam Mohd Zulkifli Mohd Adnan and the church's pastor Donald Jute, along with their groups and other church and mosque leaders, exchanged cakes and fruits before proceeding to the mosque compound to break fast.

Sarawak Assistant Minister for Communications Lee Kim Shin was the guest of honour, along with Sarawak United People's Party secretary-general Sebastian Ting and party information chief Adam Yii.

Datuk Lee, who is state assemblyman for Senadin, said the state government was pleased to see such unique racial and religious unity in Miri.

"Being able to enjoy such sincere religious and racial acceptance is priceless," he said.

According to Imam Mohd Zulkifli and Pastor Jute, the mosque and church had been sharing car parks for the past 50 years.

"It has become a way of life for us to share car parks and meet for gatherings. To us, Muslims and Christians are one big family," said Imam Mohd Zulkifli.

"This spirit of mutual acceptance comes naturally here," said Pastor Jute.

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