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Abdullah should not just
declare “Bring On United”, he should also say “Bring On the Building Bridges
Conference” Muslim-Christian international dialogue
(Parliament, Saturday) : The New Straits Times front-page today screamed the message of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi - “BRING ON UNITED!”
Its Page 2 lead story ‘I want Red Devils here’ reported:
KUALA LUMPUR: The prime minister wants Manchester United to play in Malaysia in July despite opposition from football officials.
"This is Visit
Malaysia Year and we want Manchester United to come here. This will attract
the team’s fans from all over the region, such as Singapore and Thailand, to
come over to watch the match.
This is great news. But Abdullah should also have said: “Bring On the Building Bridges Conference” and overrule the last-minute cancellation of the international Muslim-Christian conference this week. This would be even greater news.
The last-minute cancellation of the international interfaith conference is very bad advertisement for Malaysia and Islam Hadhari promoted by Abdullah – as its sends out the message that Malaysia has become increasingly intolerant of inter-religious dialogues to promote inter-religious understanding, goodwill and harmony.
Has Malaysia, on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary, turned its back to the past of over four decades where Malaysia held itself out to the world as a successful model of inter-religious understanding, goodwill and harmony?
The last-minute cancellation of the international Muslim-Christian dialogue in Malaysia is an open slap in the face of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Unity and National Service, which submitted its interim report to Parliament on Tuesday.
The interim report of the Select Committee chaired by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Maximus Ongkili called on the Prime Minister’s Department to organize inter-faith dialogues among religious leaders to promote harmony among the races.
The select committee report said: “We feel religious representatives should always be given the opportunity and space to hold dialogues among themselves in a harmonious environment.”
The last-minute cancellation of the international Muslim-Christian dialogue has made a total mockery of the work and report of the Select Committee on Unity and National Service.
The Building Bridges conference, chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, had previously been held in London, New York, Qatar and Sarajevo. What is the objection to the holding of its latest international inter-faith dialogue in Kuala Lumpur when it could be held in Qatar and Sarajevo?
Let Abdullah declare “Bring On the Building Bridges Conference” apart from his call “Bring On United”!
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman