Show of solidarity at #SalamSriLanka vigil in KL

#SalamSeriLanka vigil

Benedict Lopez attended a vigil in Kuala Lumpur last night in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks there.

With the world still reeling in shock over the senseless Easter Sunday terrorists attacks in Sri Lanka, about 200 Malaysians from all walks of life and religious denominations gathered in Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur last night in solidarity with the victims.

Suicide bombers targeting several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed about 250 people and left some 500 injured.

Participants at last night’s vigil in Kuala Lumpur lit candles and held yellow flowers to express their solidarity with the Sri Lankan people.

The participants yelled “Salam Sri Lanka!” a few times.

The #SalamSriLanka rally was organised by Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) and the Committee to Promote Inter-Religious Understanding and Harmony (JKMPKA).

Speaker after speaker – cabinet ministers, religious leaders and NGO representatives – stressed that violence has no place in any religion. They said there must be a concerted effort, nationally and globally, to eliminate this scourge, whether in Christchurch, Sri Lanka or in any other part of the world.

Mujahid adresses the vigil

The government was represented by three ministers at this vigil – Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Dr Xavier Jayakumar and Teresa Kok. They emphasised the need for mutual acceptance and unity among all Malaysians.

Mujahid with the writer, Benedict Lopez of Aliran, at last night’s vigil

A similar underlying theme was also underscored by the NGO activists and religious leaders present.

Malaysia, being a plural society, must stand in the forefront in condemning any form of terrorism and religious extremism.

We must all work hard to make the world a better, safer place for people all over the world.

Definitely a tall order but not impossible.

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Benedict Lopez was director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority in Stockholm and economics counsellor at the Malaysian embassy there in 2010-2014. He covered all five Nordic countries in the course of his work. A pragmatic optimist and now an Aliran member, he believes Malaysia can provide its people with the same benefits and privileges found in the Nordic countries - not a far-fetched dream but one that he hopes will be realised in his lifetime