Heart of God Church on Channel NewsAsia: Religious organisations say interfaith work helps to safeguard Singapore’s harmony
Religious organisations in Singapore say one important way to safeguard peace and harmony is by collaborating with other faiths. Nisha Rahim finds out how some are doing this.
This 77-year-old temple in Toa Payoh is unique as it houses a medical clinic catering to all. This Chinese medical clinic offers free medical treatment like acupuncture, regardless of ethnic group or religion. Now, it serves more than 20,000 annually.
Chia Kok Peng (Vice Chairman, Toa Payoh Seu Teck Sean Tong): We do get citizens of other races coming to the temple — Indian, foreign workers and Muslims too. The services, I believe, is useful; and we welcome everyone to come and visit and consult our free clinic. The temple says its work is all part of efforts to encourage interracial harmony.
This tuition class at Khalid mosque in Joo Chiat is another example of interfaith work. It’s a collaboration between the mosque and the heart of God church in Eunos. They have been working together for nearly four years to provide tuition for secondary school students who need academic support.
Pastor Garrett Lee, Heart of God church: It’s great because the students get to interact with people of different faiths. For some of the members in our church that were part of the programme, it was their first time stepping into a mosque. When they step in here, it breaks certain preconceived mindsets about what a mosque is like or what Muslims are like. When they come here, they learn new things; they learn that despite their differences, there are more commonalities than differences.
The mosque says such collaborations are important for peace and harmony.
Alla’udin Mohamed (Chairman, Masjid Khalid): We’re trying to build a Singapore that is for everyone. This is a very good thing that we can break all walls on religious beliefs. You keep your religion to your heart dearly, yet in the common ground we practice, we’re all Singaporeans.
Moving forward, religious organisations say they plan to work in more collaboration.
Under the guidance of the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), this partnership has grown to include other organisations and we will continue to collaborate with them to benefit the wider community.
On 19 June 2019, Heart of God Church joined over 250 religious organizations in affirming our commitment to Safeguard Religious Harmony in Singapore. Read the Straits Times report on it here.