MIRI: The state government has been fair to non-Muslims, which has resulted in a harmonious multi-racial, multi-cultural society, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said although Islam is the official religion, Muslims had lived in relative peace with people of other religions and had not impeded their religious practices.

“We accept ethnic and religious differences which we turn into a positive force to help build strong rapport in our multi-cultural society,” he said.

Abang Johari said this at the launch of the 60th state-level Tilawah Al-Quran here on Monday night.

Eleven ‘qari’ (men) and 11 ‘qariah’ (women) are taking part in the four-day event themed ‘Ummah Gemilang’ which started on Monday at Miri Civic Centre.

The event covered ‘Tilawah’ (recitation) and ‘hafazan’ (memorisation) verses from the Quran.

Abang Johari said Muslims and non-Muslims in the state had co-existed harmoniously for a long time.

Abang Johari (fourth right) performs a ‘pulut kuning’ cutting ceremony celebrating three years of his chief ministership.

“This is one of the basic guidelines laid by Prophet Muhammad when he first arrived in Madinah where he established how Muslims should deal with non-Muslims, granting minority rights to different religious groups so that they could live together under Islamic rule,” he said.

Also present at the event were Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin; Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip; Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting; Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi; Women, Family and Childhood Development Assistant Minister Rosey Yunus; Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni; Sarawak Islamic Council (MIS) president Datuk Misnu Taha; Miri Resident Mastapa Julaihi; and Miri District Officer Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf.