The Star: Starting from the grassroots to help promote tolerance

May 31, 2015 / Peace
Lee (left) and Wong talking about the objectives and plans of the Christians for Peace & Harmony in Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: Worried by the increasing religious tensions in the country, a group of concerned Christian leaders hope to ­promote mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance through the grassroots.

The Christians for Peace & Harmony in Malaysia (CPHM) was initiated after the leaders realised that the “country was tearing itself apart” because of tensions between different religious communities.

“There will always be differences, but if there is a strong bond between the communities, we can overcome these differences,” said CPHM chairman Wong Kim Jong.

The Taman Medan church cross protest, the bible seizures and the Allah issue are among recent incidents that have cast a dark shadow on the country.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to launch CPHM on Tuesday.

Wong said the group would take a ­conciliatory and consultative approach to resolve issues rather than confrontation.

“It is very easy to point fingers at others. We hope to promote an amicable way of solving problems. We should always consider other people’s views and not impose our own,” he said, adding that Christians also have a role to play as peacemakers.

Wong admitted that it would not be easy to eliminate the ill-feeling and wrong ­perceptions.

“It is easy to start a vision or an organisation, but to sustain it needs persistence. That is why we want to work with the ­grassroots.”

Wong also said that the group did not have any religious agenda and would diffuse any suspicion through their track record.

CPHM vice-chairman Lee Min Choon said they had been raising fund for the projects they want to initiate.

He added that their first major project would be organising a dinner in Segamat in August, where thousands of people from different backgrounds have been invited.

They also have plans to organise conferences, sports tournaments and youth events among other things.

He said the purpose of the events was to bring people of different faiths together and to build bonds.

“All of us want peace and harmony."

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