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Missing plane unites ethnicities in Malaysia

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On Tuesday night, an interfaith ceremony for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, was held in the courtyard of a shopping mall in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur. Religious leaders from many faiths were in attendance for the event. And while interfaith prayer has taken place before, this was the first to include a Muslim leader.

During the ceremony, the Muslim religious leader was followed by a Christian reading from the Bible, then a Buddhist monk, a Hindu and finally a Taoist priest echoing the imam's pleas before hundreds of worshippers in a largely Muslim country where religious intolerance has been on the rise.

The unsolved mystery over the disappearance of the plane has united Malaysia, a nation of numerous ethnicities, as never before in recent memory. Eleven days ago, such an interfaith would have been very unusual.

"In the shared sadness of loss, the tragedy has revealed and reinforced a strong sense of community," said Bridget Welsh, a political scientist from Singapore Management University. "If anything, this is a silver lining of the tragedy."

At the vigil, many wore white t-shirts with the words "Unite for MH370" and held balloons with hand written messages.

"Today is a rare occasion for us to bring unity, peace and harmony," said a Buddhist monk who chanted a prayer for the plane's safety.

On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people went missing.