The World Interfaith Harmony Week is from today to Feb 7. As Malaysia is a multiracial and multireligious nation, we should observe this week. We must not take for granted our peace and harmony. The Internet world — with its speed in disseminating information, facts, fake news and lies — will define the future, and we must be prepared for this.
The week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on Sept 23, 2010, by King Abdullah II of Jordan. On Oct 20, it was adopted by the UN and, henceforth, the first week of February is observed as World Interfaith Harmony Week. The event is based on a pioneering initiative in 2007 that called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious commandments — love of God and love of neighbours — without compromising their religious tenets. The two commandments are at the heart of the three monotheistic religions and, therefore, provide the most solid theological ground possible.
The week provides a platform when interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill can show the world what a powerful movement they are. The thousands of events organised by these groups often go unnoticed not only by the public, but also by other groups. This week will allow for these groups to become aware of each other and strengthen the movement by building ties and avoiding duplicating each other’s efforts. It is hoped that this initiative will provide a focal point from which all people of goodwill can recognise that the common values they hold outweigh the differences they have, and thus, boost peace and harmony in their communities.
Among the actions encouraged during the week are:
SHOW your appreciation to a faith leader or anyone you admire from another tradition;
ORGANISE an interfaith gathering;
INVITE people of different faith traditions for a meal;
HOST a film screening and discussion on an interfaith topic;
ORGANISE a discussion of sacred texts in which people bring quotes from different traditions that address respect for differences or other shared values;
JOIN with friends of different faiths in addressing a local issue, speaking out for interfaith harmony;
POST positive interfaith experiences through blogs, Twitter and Facebook;
ASK your political representatives to endorse World Interfaith Harmony Week; and,
WRITE letters to the editor of your paper. We can also reach out to people of all faiths to bring awareness to the masses.
Although we may not be able to do all, just one action will go far to bring love, peace and unity to this world.
K.T. MARAN, Seremban, Negri Sembilan