Teach our young the importance of inclusivity for all

Sometimes the Church in its attempt to teach our children to be compassionate to the lesser privileged overlooks the bigger lesson to teach the young the importance of racial inclusivity.

Aug 30, 2019

Dear Editor,
Sometimes the Church in its attempt to teach our children to be compassionate to the lesser privileged overlooks the bigger lesson to teach the young the importance of racial inclusivity.

A recent project for this year’s Extraordinary Year of Mission saw children from Std 3 to 5 of our Sunday school embarking on The Teddy Bear Project. Each child was encouraged to write a letter to a marginalised kid accompanied with a gift of a teddy bear.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul is a fortunate recipient of this project. We were asked to submit names of the poor children whom we assist. We thus furnished the names of the marginalised children from our tuition centre and kindergarten including the names of Muslims kids to the catechists. Alas, when we collected the gift packs of teddy bears, only the non Muslim kids had gifts allocated for them while ALL the Muslim children had none.

Now when we distribute the gift packs at our tuition centre and kindergarten, the Muslim children will be sidelined.

What message are we sending to the young? Are we planting a seed in the minds of the young Muslim kids that it is “haram” to receive gifts from a church group? Similarly are we also sending a message to the non-Muslim kids that church groups cannot give things to Muslims? When we adults start to be so paranoid of “offending” the Muslims at every single turn of event, is it not surprising then that our country is at a crossroad today where the Muslims and non Muslims are suspicious of each other.

As we look forward to Hari Malaysia, let us teach our young the importance of inclusiveness for all and not be so paranoid over imaginative fears of touching on the sensitivity of a particular religion. A gift from one child to another remains just a gift of goodwill and nothing else. It is time to stop looking at everything from the angle of religion.

Cherie Wu
Via Email

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