Last Saturday, I was on my way to renew my road-tax at the Post Office at the Giant Mall in Kinrara BK5.
As I stepped out of the LRT Train, this banner greeted me warmly “Selamat Berbuka Puasa”.
The management of RapidKL was inviting its Muslim patrons to a breaking-fast treat.
Suddenly I spotted an emblem of a Christian “cross” right on top of the banner.
Of course it’s a coincidence… but it’s rather unusual and it made me think!
Muslims and Christians share the Abrahamic faith (roots) with the Jews.
While sharing many common beliefs and values, there are also areas of different interpretations.
Take the “cross” for example. Let’s examine this for mutual understanding of our religions.
* TO THE CHRISTIANS
Some people wear the “cross” as an ornament around their necks.
This is to stand out, to be different, or to make a fashion statement.
But to some Christian denominations (*not all), the “cross” is more than just a symbol.
It is an object of devotion, an article of adoration, being an expression of worship.
To wear the “cross” is to identify one-self as a Christian, as belonging to Christ.
* TO THE ROMANS
Do you still remember your history on ROME? The ROMAN EMPIRE lasted from 753 BC to 1453 AD.
Some conspiracy theorists say that the ROMAN EMPIRE had been revived, resurrected and kicking today.
But this “coming-back-to-life” story will be for another article for another day. Soon, I promise.
Coming back to the main point, the “cross” is the ROMAN EMPIRE’s most painful method of execution.
Those who dared defy the ROMANS, such rebels were to be nailed on the “cross”. It’s a gruesome death machine.
* TO THE JEWS
The Jews have an overwhelming aversion and antagonism to the “cross”. It is somewhat an anathema to them.
This is based on the Torah, which Deuteronomy 21:22-23 says,
“If a man have committed a capital offense, he is to be put to death. If you are to hang him on a tree (cross), do not leave his body hanging overnight. Bury his body on the same day, for he who is left hanging (overnight) is cursed of God and thus defiles your land.”
* TO THE MUSLIMS
As some Christians (*not all) worship the “cross”, this may be perceived as idolatry to the Muslims.
The Bible also gives an account of the ROMAN crucifixion of JESUS CHRIST on the “cross”.
However this is described differently in the HOLY QU’RAN which Muslims believe in.
Hence Muslims will usually avoid any association with the “cross”.
# THIS IS MY CONCLUSION.
Multi-religious harmony is a very precious commodity in our community.
Once the goodwill is lost, it may never be recovered again.
Having some basic knowledge in each other’s religion (and sensitivity areas) is one way of fostering our mutual respect and building bridges.
Our young people do not have to speak provocative words or react in fear.
Problems may occur – but an amicable solution can always be found – when goodwill exists.
THERE IS MUCH MORE THAT UNITES US than divides us.