George Town’s Diversity Safeguards its Religious Harmony

loading

In his notes from a recent field trip, a renowned scholar identifies some unique qualities behind the inter-faith goodwill found in Penang.

All cities are arenas of contestation. The “harmonious city” is both a distant ideal and a contradiction in terms of a situation where residents jockey for influence, resources and security amid changing demographic, political and economic dynamics.

In general, conflicts in cities are resolved through mediation and political processes which allow an uneasy equilibrium to prevail, but when these mechanisms break down, a city will unravel into discrete parts (ghettos), and ultimately, in the case of violent conflict, result in being partitioned. In some cities, urban conflicts are exacerbated by religious diversity as access to or control over holy sites becomes both the foci of struggles over territory and symbols of the power of the different communities. Jerusalem, Mostar and Sarajevo in the Balkans, Benares, and Lhasa are cities where holy sites are at the forefront of urban contestations.


To read the rest of the article and to access our e-Archive, subscribe to us for RM150 a year.



Related Articles

FEATURE
Nov 2017

The Bastion of Early Catholicism in Penang Restored

George Town's Church of the Assumption gets a much-needed face lift.

CARPE DIEM
Sep 2017

Bangsa Malaysia – A Dream Worth Fighting For

For young Malaysians, it is not so hard to imagine a united society.

FEATURE
Aug 2017

Walking a Street of Art

Each painting tells a story at Bagan Luar's back alleys.

PHOTO ESSAY
Aug 2017

A Portrait of Change: Bayan Lepas

A visual account of everyday life in and around Bayan Lepas.