Compassion – The Antidote To Religious Intolerance

Compassion - The Antidote To Religious Intolerance | IKRAM

In The Name of Allah The Most Beneficient The Most Merciful
All Praise is for Allah

It was a wonderful honour and opportunity for many delegates to build bridges and break misconceptions at the International Interfaith Peace Conference 2022 with the theme “Compassion – The Antidote to Religious Intolerance” which was held on Saturday, 25 June 2022 at Furama Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. 

This international event was organised by the Allied Coordinating Council of Islamic NGOs (ACCIN), Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM), Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) and The Pure Land Learning Center. 

Delegates not only came from all parts of Malaysia, but also from as far as Australia, gathering like-minded souls with sincere hearts, who despite our different faiths and backgrounds, were all there to know one another, respect each other and work to spread goodness together. 

The whole day consisted of enlightening speeches and heartwarming short talks by YB Wan Ahmad Fayshal as Deputy Minister of National Unity and representatives of many faith groups. 

They all had many themes in common, including love, respect and peace. The value highlighted most was compassion, as the leading theme at this year’s conference.  

In his speech, Hj Badlishah Sham Baharin, as President of IKRAM, mentioned that in Islamic teaching, “Bismillahirrahmanirrahim” which means In The Name of Allah The Most Beneficient, The Most Merciful has the root word ‘rahmah’ which encompasses mercy, kindness and compassion as divine attributes of Allah and is spread among His creation.  

In the Quran, Chapter 21 (Al-Anbiya’) Verse 107, the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h is described as ‘rahmatan lil ‘alamin’, meaning a mercy to all the worlds.

The Prophet consistently showed mercy and compassion not only towards his family and companions, but to all Muslims and non-Muslims, and even to animals and the environment.  

It is evidently clear that Islamic teachings from Allah’s Words in The Holy Quran and also the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h encourage the practice of mercy and compassion among all of God’s creation. 

However, within the Muslim community and also other faith communities, practising these values in the context of interfaith relations remain an ongoing challenge. 

Hj Badlishah invited everyone to go beyond ‘Tasaamuh’ i.e. tolerance, by continuing to build bridges based on mercy and compassion.

This can be achieved by collaboration and working together towards achieving a better nation through community projects, such as those run by Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM).  

Delegates then split up into mixed groups to have thought-provoking discussions about the challenges of spreading and practising compassion, the hope and opportunities that we can garner on, and ideas and projects that we could initiate in our own circles to spread and invite others to form compassionate communities and subsequently better interfaith relations. 

We all went home with new friends from many faiths, both within Malaysia and crossing international borders, with renewed spirits and resolutions to increase our understanding and practice of our own faith, while continuing to build bonds of love, respect, peace and compassion within and among our faith communities.  

Here are several take home messages:

  1. Whoever and wherever we are, be strong in our faith and respect others
  2. Treat all human beings with compassion
  3. Spread love and peace unconditionally
  4. Seek to understand before being understood
  5. Hold to our shared values and agree to disagree
  6. Show by example and start within the home

Let us together open our hearts and our eyes. 

Let us feel and see that we have so much more in common than our differences. 

Let it unite us, and not divide us.

Let us keep building bridges to spread love, respect, peace and compassion. 

Dr Siti Noor Munirah Ibrahim
Kluster Perpaduan Nasional
Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia


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