Facebook group chips in towards grave repairs

One of the gravestones damaged by vandals.

KUANTAN, Malaysia - Various people under the Facebook group Malaysians for Malaysia have chipped in a total of RM9,010 (S$3,486) for the repairs of desecrated Christian graves in Tanjung Api here.

The group's convener Azrul Mohd Khalib, 37, said that they had started a donation drive last month via Facebook to raise funds as a simple gesture of humanitarianism and charity, as well as being part of national healing and reconciliation.

"Many of us were disheartened when we learned that 12 graves at the Tanjung Api cemetery were desecrated in January. The final resting place of our loved ones and those who have gone before us are sacred and dear to all our hearts.

"Such desecration is not only condemned but denounced by our respective faiths and beliefs," he said before presenting the money to Kuantan Tanjung Api Christian Cemetery Committee chairman Datuk Jack How here yesterday.

Many generous Ma­laysians of different faiths and ethnic groups had come forward to donate between RM5 and RM500, said Azrul.

"Some may seek to divide us using racism, bigotry, prejudice and fear but we believe that there are many more who believe in compassion, love, peace and a shared future together," he said.

In January, the graves were found to have been vandalised with crosses, flower pots and other stone markers damaged, removed or smashed into pieces.

Calling the act significant, How said that this showed it was possible to co-exist with respect and acceptance of each other's uniqueness.

"Whether we are Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus or atheists, we need to build a society that is free from arrogance, hate, malice, prejudice and insecurities.

"It is time for us to practise compassion, kindness, love and forgiveness towards each other, including those who have wronged us," he said.