Tok Guru Nik Aziz meets Bishop Sebastian Francis

On a day when a threat of Bible-burning by unknown bigots fizzled out, Pas spiritual leader Nik Aziz hosted a friendly private meeting with Catholic Bishop Sebastian Francis.

Tok-Guru-meets-Bishop-Sebastian-FrancisThis one’s from me to you: Tok Guru presents Bishop Sebastian with a mouth-watering cake

It may have been Nik Aziz’s 82nd birthday on Sunday, but it was the octogenarian who handed over a cake to the Bishop of the Penang Diocese, which covers Penang, Kedah, Perlis, Perak and Kelantan. On the cake was inscribed the simple words: Kpd: Yg Mulia Bishop, Daripada: Tn Guru Dato Nik Aziz, Mursyidul Am Pas.

Delicious diplomacy: A sweet touch indeed
Delicious diplomacy: A ‘peace’ of cake, a sweet touch indeed

Though Nik Aziz had a full schedule in Penang, he cancelled another appointment to make sure he could meet Sebastian at short notice. Looking frail, the Tok Guru said he now finds it difficult to stand air-conditioning and even rain. But sunshine is always welcome, he said, his face brightening up.

Though Tok Guru tires easily – he has a pacemaker – his aides say he perks up when the occasion demands such as when addressing a large ceramah. And on this occasion, he was clearly looking forward to meeting the Bishop.

"I will pray for your health," Bishop Sebastian assures Tok Guru.
“I will pray for your health,” Bishop Sebastian assures Tok Guru.

Nik Aziz touched on the importance of kerohanian (spirituality) – which Sebastian wholeheartedly agreed to – and lamented the excessive emphasis on materialism in development models today.

The Tok Guru pointed out that Islam honours the prophets, including Jesus. In Kelantan, he was pleased to add, there were many images of Buddha.

Bishop Sebastian expressed concern about Tok Guru’s health and said he would pray for him: “The nation needs your spiritual example,” he said.

Tok Guru expressed regret that certain people had created a controversy over religious matters. Bishop Sebastian concurred saying that that wasted energy could be better spent looking for missing children, for instance.

Later, when posing for a group photo, Nik Aziz joked, “I don’t know what the mainstream media is going to say about my meeting with you!” … read more here