Even today there is no dearth of people believing in the ‘mantra’ of tolerance and co-existence. However, the need is how to encourage such people because such people are salt of the earth. Most of them believe in their respective religion but their faith in religion enhances the feeling and sentiment about tolerance and co-existence.
Time and again such people, who may be a little in quantity like the salt, show their deep and sometime everlasting impact upon the society. A recent news item appearing in IANS catches our attention. The Sultan of Selangor, Sharafuddin Idris Shah, has opened ‘Masjid India Muslim’, a renovated mosque patronized by ethnic Indians that has become a symbol of tolerance.
Speaking at the opening Friday (December 18, 2009), the Sultan pointed out that the mosque was located near churches, Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwaras. "The Muslims must remind themselves of the need to be united with all. Masjid India Muslim is known to all in the Klang Valley and throughout Selangor. So, it is an icon of unity and brotherhood among Klang Muslims despite their different ethnicity," he said.
Sharafuddin added that the migration of Indian Muslims to Malaysia began in the 1400s due to trade and missionary work to spread Islam. According to documents tracing the advent of Islam to the present-day Malaysia, the first to arrive in Sarawak were Muslims from Cambay in Gujarat. Ethnic Indians, of which Muslims are a part, number an estimated two million and constitute about eight percent of Malaysia's multi-ethnic population.
An Evening with an Incurable Optimist in Communal Harmony