March 15, 2014

​Malaysians Lift up Missing Flight in Prayers


Many Malaysians are invoking the power of prayer to aid the massive multinational
search operation for the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared without a
trace on March 8.

To aid the hunt and keep hope alive for the missing 239 passengers and crew,
many Malaysians are taking to Islamic mosques, Buddhist and Hindu temples, and
even shopping malls, where shoppers on March 11 wrote and hung up prayers and
well-wishes on special “message of hope” displays.

On March 9, a former Malaysian prime minister joined multifaith groups for
prayers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where Flight 370 took off
for Beijing. Prayers have continued across Malaysia, where Muslims make up the
majority of the population, and significant numbers of ethnic minorities,
including Chinese and Indians, follow other religions.

In Penang, in Malaysia’s northwest, four special prayer sessions were held
March 11 by the Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu communities, the New Straits Times newspaper reported. At
the Penang state police headquarters, about 1,500 Muslim officers, some
overcome by emotion, took part in a mass solat hajat prayer for the speedy
recovery of the jet, it said.

At the upscale Pavilion Mall in Kuala Lumpur, accountant Jeffrey Sim wrote a
prayer on a specially printed note for tying to a “message of hope” display
wall. “I want to send them loving kindness, and the hope that they are in a
safe place and happy, whether here or on the other side,” said Sim, 60, a

The display wall was one of several organized at malls in the capital by
Malaysians for Malaysia, a civil society organization that promotes unity. One
handwritten prayer read: “World unites because of you, may Allah be with us!”
Another said, “The power of prayer can create miracle where hope is lost.”

In his prayer, Hidayat Kamalzaman, a business intern, hoped for the flight’s
safe return and said Islamic belief could sustain Muslims during difficult times.
“The Koran says that if God says it will happen, it will,” the 21-year-old
said. Relatives of the missing “will keep faith and it will help them cope. We
Muslims believe there’s a reason for everything that happens.”

Mainland Chinese relatives of missing passengers, who are less likely to be
religious after decades of religious repression by China’s ruling Communist
Party, arrived in Kuala Lumpur on March 11 from Beijing, after a first batch
Monday. They were processed through the airport without exposure to waiting
reporters, in line with Malaysia Airlines’ commitment in Beijing to protect
their privacy, and taken to a suburban hotel.