'Charity transcends geographical boundaries'

'Charity transcends geographical boundaries'
THANKFUL: Syrian children in Turkey expressing their gratitude to Singapore during a visit by members of the Aid to Syrian Refugees in Turkey intiative.

Non-Muslim religious leaders in Singapore have come forward to pledge financial support for Syrian refugees, and they hope that more Singaporeans of different religions will do the same.

Abbot Venerable Sik Kwang Sheng from the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery was the first non-Muslim religious leader here to make a donation to the Aid to Syrian Refugees in Turkey (Asrit) initiative.

He said his donation came after "seeing the state of the Syrian refugees suffering" in the media.

Chairman of the Taoist Federation of Singapore, Mr Tan Thiam Lye, 64, followed suit, stressing that "charity transcends geographical boundaries".

"Helping people in need, regardless of race and religion, is something that Taoism promotes," he said.


Yesterday, Mr Tan presented a cheque of $6,000 to Asrit at the Singapore Buddhist Lodge.

President of the Singapore Buddhist Lodge, Mr Lee Bock Guan, 70, who also presented his donation to Asrit yesterday, said his gesture was to promote friendship between different religions.

"This is a cause to help refugees and it is a cause that surpasses religion and race," he said.

Mr Mohamed Nassir, 44, managing director of the SimplyIslam centre which co-launched Asrit, said the gestures from the various religious leaders were heartwarming.

"The humanitarian crisis in Syria has nothing to do with religion because people from all religions are affected," he said.

SimplyIslam is a private Islamic organisation that provides education, humanitarian aid, social and community development and literary services.

Mr Mohamed added that some 15 non-Muslim Singaporeans have donated to Asrit so far. Most of the money raised will go towards providing food and groceries for Syrian families in Turkey.

This article was first published on August 8, 2014.
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