In what can be described as a rare moment, Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam attended the prayers for the late Muslim scholar Kassim Ahmad at the Al-Huda mosque here yesterday.

The former archbishop of Kuala Lumpur was Kassim’s neighbour in Bukit Gelugor, Penang, in the 1960s, and was very close to Kassim’s family.

Dressed in his clerical clothing, he was on site to witness the pre-burial rituals with family members at the mosque.

Later, Pakiam joined the mosque congregation during the mahgrib prayers, sitting through the session as well as the Al-Fatihah prayers for about 20 minutes.

He then accompanied family members to witness Kassim’s burial at the cemetery behind the mosque.

When met by reporters, Pakiam said the two families went back a long way to his time as a lecturer and later the rector of the College General Seminary in Pulau Tikus.

“We had a house next to the Kassims at Jalan Bunga Raya. My sister Betty and I were very close to them,” Pakiam said.

He said he remembered Kassim as an academic who was very forthright and spoke his mind.

“Kassim knows the Quran well, and as a socialist, has interpreted it in a socialist framework.

“He is also someone that feels that it is obligatory to serve the people. I mourn the loss with his family today, and I hope he rests in peace,” Pakiam said.

Kassim was buried at the Al-Huda Mosque cemetery at Jalan Kilang Lama, Kulim, yesterday at 7.32pm.-FMT

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