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5:03pm 25/04/2022
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Temple’s interfaith harmony dream comes true with fast-breaking dinner for Muslims
Ven Jue Cheng has always wanted to host a fast-breaking dinner for the Muslims.

JENJAROM: For the first time, Dong Zen Temple has hosted a fast-breaking dinner for the Muslims.

Despite the differences in culture and religion, the guests and hosts enjoyed the special night on April 18, when the temple’s main hall was filled with festive mood and cheers, as all had a good time savoring an array of Malaysian-style vegetarian food – Jawa mee, satay, fried koay teow, fries, dumplings, etc.

The hosts – Ven Jue Cheng, Chief Abbess of Dong Zen Temple and her team – converted the VIP room at the temple to a prayer room, and made sure the hall was decorated in a Malay style for the guests Deddy Faisal Ahmad Salleh, chargé d’affaires of the Malaysian High Commission in Pakistan, and his wife Emilia, Datuk Ahmad Azam, special advisor to the foreign minister on Afghanistan, Hardi Hamdin, principal assistant secretary, South and Central Asia Division, Foreign Ministry of Malaysia, Ahmad Fahmi Moh Samsudi, chief executive officer of Global Peace Mission Malaysia, Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, founder of Country Heights Holdings Bhd, and their family members.

The Muslim guests appear excited having their fast-breaking dinner inside a temple.

The guests became friends of Dong Zen Temple when Ven Jue Cheng led a team of volunteers to deliver goods for the poor to brace through the harsh winter in Afghanistan in February.

In a chartered flight arranged by Lee, the temple connected with Ahmad in Afghanistan, staff from the ministry of foreign affairs and others during the handover of the contribution in February.

In March, Ven Jue Cheng and a delegation from Fo Guang Shan Malaysia attended the international conference on Buddhism and art festival in Pakistan held in Islamabad.

The VIP room at the temple is converted to a prayer room for the Muslims.

The delegation was received by Deddy Faisal and Emilia at the airport. Emilia even cooked nasi lemak for the delegation. They agreed to meet again when returning to Malaysia to celebrate Hari Raya in April, at Dong Zen Temple.

It was a dream come true for Ven Jue Cheng to host a fast-breaking dinner for the guests at the temple, where people of different faiths came together.

I have thought about this for 50 years.

When I was young, Malay friends used to be at my house for Chinese New Year, when my mother would give them ang pow and we played games together. It was 50 years back then,” said Ven Jue Cheng, who always looks forward to Malaysians living under the same roof as good friends and neighbors.

Deddy Faisal (R) is obviously dazzled by the sumptuous spread of food before his eyes.

Deddy Faisal, who hails from Kuching, Sarawak, sees breaking fast at a temple a normal practice in East Malaysia although it is rare here in West Malaysia.

Deddy Faisal visited the main hall of the temple to check if a Buddha statue which Ven Jue Cheng brought back from Pakistan several months ago was in good condition.

His wife Emilia, who studied at a Chinese school when she was young, felt at home in the temple.

She asked for permission to pack the food home because she said the food was very good.

For Hadi from Wisma Putra, he had not had such a good experience for a long time.

The dinner reminded him of his hometown Sibu where friends of different ethnic groups would visit one another during festivals.

The kids are having a good time breaking fast in Dong Zen Temple.

Ahmad, who is in Malaysia for a ten-day break, did not expect to break fast before a Buddha statue inside a temple.

He brought a set of rosaries presented by the former Afghanistan president for Ven Jue Cheng and invited her to visit Afghanistan again.

Ahmad Fahmi and his six children toured the art and history galleries inside the temple and suggested to Ven Jue Cheng that Muslim students should visit the temple for interfaith dialogue.

Lee Kim Yew, who sponsored the flight to deliver goods to Afghanistan on humanitarian ground, described a multiracial society like a piece of colorful cloth.

Mee Jawa and satay are among the local delicacies served to the Muslim guests at the temple.

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