United in our commonality

On February 4, 2019, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb signed the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity For Word Peace and Living Together.

Aug 12, 2022

Bishop Sebastian Francis touched on Pope Francis’ encyclical on Fraternity and Social Friendship Fratelli Tutti during a dinner with Mursyidul Am PAS Dato’ Tuan Guru Haji Hashim Jasin in Kangar, August 5, 2022.


By Christopher Kushi

On February 4, 2019, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb signed the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity For Word Peace and Living Together. It invites all persons who have faith in God to unite and work together, to serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters.

Following in the footsteps of this Christian and Islamic epoch-making meeting, Bishop Sebastian Francis, and Mursyidul Am PAS Dato’ Tuan Guru Hj. Hashim Jasin and their delegations met for dinner on Aug 5, 2022, to promote the theme Bersama Menyuburkan Kehidupan Aman dan Sejahtera (Together we will nourish a Peaceful and Tranquil Life). The get-together was hosted by Lajnah Dakwah PAS.

Bishop Sebastian and Tuan Guru Hashim touched on the human fraternity that embraces mankind and unites them in one humanity. Both religious leaders urged fellow Malaysians to look for our commonality rather than differences to achieve peace and harmony in the country. There should be love and respect and trust for each other, more so living in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country. They also shared their life experiences of love for humanity which transcends all outward differences or divisions that keep us apart.

Bishop Sebastian touched on Pope Francis’s encyclical on Fraternity and Social Friendship Fratelli Tutti (We are all Brothers and Sisters or Kita semua adalah Saudara). He said that compassion or ‘belas kasihan’ is an attribute so precious in both Islam and Christianity that the many traits of God’s compassion must be our guiding principle, especially in helping the poor, orphans, sick, homeless, and those most in need. Tuan Guru Hashim urged all to partake in the ‘perpaduan ummah’ which involves unity in both the political arena and among religions. Tuan Guru Hashim also said we may have our differences but more similarities need to be celebrated. He also encouraged that gatherings like this should be held more often.

Around 80 participants, 45 from PAS and 35 Catholics from Perlis headed by Fr Francis Xavier attended the dinner gathering. The emcee, Tn. Haji Abdul Rahman invited attendees to exchange their experiences, to be friends, and exchange phone numbers so the friendship carries on. Gifts were presented to all participants, who left yearning for more such gatherings to promote a culture of dialogue, cooperation, and reciprocal understanding.

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