Jan 28: While many have welcomed the surprise birthday treat thrown by DAP chairman Karpal Singh – one of the more outspoken critics of PAS – to the Islamic party’s top leader Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, (Chief Minister of Kelantan) the latter’s Northern trip also saw another similar gesture.
Only this time, the cake is presented by Nik Aziz to Bishop Sebastian Francis, who was appointed last year as the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Penang Diocese.
And coming at a time when tension between Muslims and Christians had threatened to rear its ugly head in the open, the move has been well-received by all, especially in the aftermath of the pro-Barisan Nasional Perkasa’s failed attempt at staging a “Bible-burning festival” in the island.
Recalling his meeting with the Bishop at a hotel in Penang, Nik Aziz wrote on his hugely popular Facebook fanpage that his visit had succeeded in its mission to encourage religious harmony.
Meanwhile, activist-blogger Anil Netto reported that Nik Aziz had cancelled another appointment in Penang in order to squeeze in the meeting with Sebastian.
“Nik Aziz touched on the importance of spirituality – which Sebastian wholeheartedly agreed to – and lamented the emphasis on materialism in today’s development models,” wrote Anil.
Sebastian meanwhile expressed concern over the Kelantan Menteri Besar’s health.
“The nation needs your spiritual example,” Anil quoted Sebastian as saying.
Both leaders also agreed that so much energy had been wasted on religious polemics which could have been channeled to more important areas.
“I don’t know what the mainstream media are going to say about my meeting with you!” Nik Aziz had quipped as he posed for a group photo.
Nik Aziz was accompanied by Parit Buntar member of parliment Mujahid Yusuf Rawa and Tasik Gelugor PAS information chief Abdul Rahman Kasim. Also present at the historic meeting was Sister Marie Jeanne from the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic institute for women.