Message on the occasion of the World Interfaith Harmony Week

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Organisation of the Islamic Conference

Message of the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the occasion of the World Interfaith Harmony Week.

It gives me great pleasure to note that the international community is observing the World Interfaith Harmony Week on February 1-7, 2011 – As Secretary General of the OIC, I take particular pride that the initiative came from the Head of an OIC Member State, His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan, during the ongoing 65th session of the UN General Assembly. On behalf of the OIC, I issued a statement welcoming this visionary initiative and called on all to observe the week in a befitting manner.

The OIC is committed to engender a culture of harmony among peoples of diverse religious faiths, civilizations and cultural backgrounds. We took the lead in pioneering Dialogue among Civilizations at the United Nations as early as 1998 to promote intercultural and inter-civilizational understanding and mutual respect for diversity. The urgency attached by the OIC to establish interfaith harmony is vindicated in various initiatives taken including that of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia with major events in Makkah, Madrid and at the UN General Assembly in New York in 2008 .

The call for “World Interfaith Harmony” gains in weight and substance when we find ourselves confronted by radical and extremist elements who are active in pursuing an agenda of religious intolerance and hatred. The Organization of the Islamic Conference has on various occasions and at international forums, urged the international community to develop a common strategy and mechanism to confront the challenge.

I am particularly happy that the Permanent Observer Mission of the OIC to the United Nations in New York is organizing a Special Panel Discussion under the theme “The Role of Faith based Organizations and Interfaith Initiatives in Development, Reconciliation and Peace Building”.

I am confident that the distinguished panelists and other participants will be able to underscore the significance of the event and come out with a strong message on the necessity of World Interfaith Harmony and continuation of serious, structured and sustained efforts to that end.

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