By Neville Timothy Sanders & Ma Chee Seng
KUCHING: The construction of mosques that feature distinctive architectural elements of various ethnic groups is welcomed by members of the public as long as they don’t contradict any religious principle.
Recently, Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg proposed that more mosques in the state should have unique architectural designs displaying certain cultural elements of different races.
Some members of the public were asked for comments on this idea and the following are some of their responses.
SHAHRUL AIZAT, 27
The premier’s idea can be implemented as long as it does not deviate from the main purpose of mosques as places of worship. And as the designs are not contrary or offensive to Islam, I think it should be fine. When non-Sarawakians see our mosques, they would see that the designs do not contradict the foundation of the religion.
NUR IZZATIE HATTA
I believe it’s a good idea. During the days of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, he treated everyone equally. With more mosques that have elements usually associated with other ethnic groups in Sarawak, it would show that Islam doesn’t belong to Malays only. Muslims are not of one race.
MOHD ZAHID AHMAD ZAKI, 24
There’s no harm in building mosques that don’t look like the typical ones we have today. It would be okay as long as the designers or authorities are careful with the symbols or whatever is adopted. Discussions or consultations should be held with certain experts or interested groups in order to avoid misunderstanding especially among Muslims.
FARUQ HAZIM PERTI, 27
I agree with our premier. It’s good to incorporate design elements from non-Muslim ethnic groups as it would help in ‘da’wah’ efforts. We should embrace certain aspects of different cultures as a way of reaching out to different groups of people.
MUHAMMAD IRWAN REJAB, 30
We should implement what our multiracial state needs. Islam teaches us to be flexible and there should be no barriers when it comes to where we pray. In China, their unique mosques attract numerous tourists who come to see and learn. Mosques don’t have to look like the ones in the Middle East. Actually, even a ‘pondok’ can be a surau or a mosque.