by Sheila Covarrubias
Mayor Celso Lobregat has issued an executive order enjoining all schools, agencies and all people in the city to join and support activities for the World Interfaith Harmony Week set February 1-7.
Issued on January 9, 2013, EO 488-2013 emphasizes the importance of dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.
Citing the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Lobregat in his executive order said that the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding and that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace.
The UN General Assembly during its 34th plenary meeting proclaimed the first week of February of every year as World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs, according to Lobregat.
The Assembly, he said also encourages all “States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week, based on love of God and love of one’s neighbour or on love of the good and love of one’s neighbour, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions”.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week activities in the city, slated from Feb. 1-7 are organized by the Silsillah Dialogue Movement under Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, who also requested the issuance of the order to enjoin the active participation of all schools, government entities, private institutions, NGOs, parishes, church-based organizations, civil society groups, urban poor communities and other people’s organizations in this year’s lined-up activities.