KOTA KINABALU, May 5, 2015:

An ordination to serve God is an honour and that was what Reverend Father Abel Madisang felt, especially when he was surrounded by his loved ones.

But what made such a memorable occasion all the more unique, was the fact that Abel’s friends and family put aside their religious beliefs to celebrate his special moment.

One Japiril Suhaimin today posted several pictures by Bro Benn on his Facebook wall, reflecting on love and respect as strong bonds that held people together.

The pictures showed newly ordained priest Reverend Father Abel Madisang, of Kampung Marakau, Ranau, posing with his Muslim family members.

Some, who were seen wearing thehijab(Muslim headscarf), appeared to be smiling, equally proud of the event.

Japiril wrote in his Facebook: “Hanya di Sabah — Pentahbisan menjadi Paderi , Father Abel di gereja Roman Catholic Pekan Ranau hari ini 4 May 2015 turut dihadiri oleh Keluarga Muslim . Wanita berbaju putih bertudung bernama Annie Anne Gindalu , berkhawin dengan Amilin Baranting , saudara saya di Kundasang. Photo by Bro Benn.”

(Only in Sabah. Ordination of Father Abel as a priest at a Catholic Church in Ranau today May 4, 2015, witnessed by his Muslim family members. The lady in white and wearing a tudung is Anne Gindalu, who married my cousin Amilin Baranting from Kundasang. Photo courtesy of Bro Benn).

When contacted by The Rakyat Post, Japiril, a born-Muslim, related that such a scenario was normal in the state, adding that having different religious backgrounds never proved to be a problem for them.

“My wife was a Christian before she embraced Islam, and my parents’ family members are also mostly Christians. But we all live in harmony.

“I would go to church to attend weddings and funerals, and some of my Christian family members also attended my son’s akad nikahat the mosque recently.

“In my family, we go beyond religious symbols. It does not make us any less Muslim, seeing crosses everyday.

“In fact, I believe I am blessed to be living in a multicultural community. I feel very much rich, not with wealth, but with peace and harmony.

“It is sad that some of my brothers and sisters in Peninsular Malaysia are not privileged enough to enjoy such love for and from people who have belief systems different from their own.

“It has come to a point that they feel threatened just by the sight of a cross. Take it from me, you will not be converted by merely looking at a cross or being friends with Christians.

“They are after all, humans, too,” he said.

His post had garnered 2,684 “likes”’ and was shared by 420 people.

Some also shared similar photos of families coming from different religious backgrounds, enjoying their moments together.

One Patrick Morton wrote: “God wants us to live harmoniously as one big family. Sabah shows the way!”

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