Breaking fast together, regardless of race and religion

Residents of different races and religions joining their Muslim compatriots in breaking fast at Kampong Ubi Community Centre yesterday. The event, Harmony Iftar 2019, involved close to 4,000 residents from the Marine Parade cluster, with President Ha
Residents of different races and religions joining their Muslim compatriots in breaking fast at Kampong Ubi Community Centre yesterday. The event, Harmony Iftar 2019, involved close to 4,000 residents from the Marine Parade cluster, with President Halimah Yacob as the guest of honour.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Close to 4,000 residents of different races and religious backgrounds joined their Muslim compatriots in breaking fast at Kampong Ubi Community Centre yesterday.

President Halimah Yacob, the guest of honour at the event, Harmony Iftar 2019, sat down with the residents from the Marine Parade cluster for an iftar, or break fast meal, that included curry chicken and briyani rice.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Madam Halimah said the meal, which was prepared by students and members of various community associations, was "an example of cohesion, of multiracialism, and inter-faith harmony".

"The purpose of this iftar - as the word harmony indicates - is meant to encourage not just intra-faith but also inter-faith relations," she said.

"It is meant to encourage mutual respect and understanding, and also support for each other in the community.

"And that is really what we want to see. We need to continue to provide such platforms, which is very important."

Other guests at the event included Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef and MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling.

 
 

Madam Halimah also said the upcoming International Conference on Cohesive Societies, which Singapore is hosting next month, will be a good way to foster dialogue about social cohesion and inter-faith harmony.

It will bring together local and international thought leaders across academia, government, religious groups and the civic sector.

"That conference will provide an opportunity for deeper, meaningful discussions on inter-faith relations and harmony," she said. "And that will also be conducted in an environment where there is great trust, wisdom, and not hate or fear."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2019, with the headline 'Breaking fast together, regardless of race and religion'. Print Edition | Subscribe