When reason, tolerance take flight, we are stuck with raw emotions

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Cartoon: Zunar

Let us not allow a culture of small-mindedness to destroy the beauty of all religions, writes JD Lovernciear.

The drama surrounding the case of a girls school in Penang over the recitation of Christian prayers brings out the ugly truth about us Malaysians.

While the police should investigate, free from social media affronts, politicians have shown their exploitative nature.

Let us philosophise for a moment. Or is that too restrained by a growing lack of an ability to reason and think logically, with great tolerance?

For decades, many schools and public events including corporate events have cultivated the goodness of reciting a Muslim prayer or bacaan doa while non-Muslims present silently prayed in their hearts.

Did the non-Muslims especially parents protest over this practice in school assemblies? No. Are the Muslims praying so with a hidden agenda to convert young hearts? No.

If the school in question did recite a thanksgiving prayer, what is so evil about it? Is it going to convert Muslims? Where is our sense of tolerance, which is the cardinal pillar for every religion in the world?

Faith (religious beliefs) is not gained or eroded by conversions and propaganda. On the contrary, faith is strengthened or weakened by how one lives one’s life.

If every non-Muslim religion is deemed a threat to Islam, then we are doing gross injustice to the power and greatness of Islam.

With over 60% of the population being Muslims, we automatically have Islam secured for eternity. So what and why is it that non-Muslim religions are invariably accused of ‘attacking’ Islam or that Malay-Muslim minds appear to be under siege?

For decades, non-Muslims have tolerantly and reverently accepted the bacaan doa in public and did not see it as a denial of their own rights nor as an affront to their religious beliefs. Instead, it was seen as an opportunity to pray.

It is time that all Malaysians saw the beauty of prayer and took advantage of such moments by praising the God of their respective religions in their own moments of silence or recitation.

Let us not allow this culture of small-mindedness to destroy the beauty of all religions. To make Islam great, we must let reason, logic and tolerance flourish.

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