Considered a global model for religious tolerance…

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Guyana joins 28 other countries in observing Harmony Week

-- weeklong series of activities planned from today

GUYANA is among 29 countries in the world observing United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, from February 1st to 7th annually. This event goes a long way towards ending religious war, violence and crime, and strives to ensure that people will be able to live in safety and peace, and have food to eat.

To commemorate this event, the Interfaith Harmony Committee has, once again, organized a series of events, beginning with a breakfast at the National Cultural Centre this morning during which there will be an address by His Excellency President, Donald Ramotar.

According to the co-chair of the committee, Pandit Chrishna Persaud, the agenda for this event is the same as last year, with a few additions.

Alluding to the importance of the occasion, he said, “We are following the same pattern, with a few additions. Harmony week activities commence today. The focus is building barriers and building bridges where religious communities are concerned, because there is a need to end the bigotry, hatred, fighting, and (to) build trust. No one religion has a monopoly on the path to salvation or to God’s grace, and it is time that we recognize that.”

He also explained that Guyana can be considered a model for the world, because Guyanese people have a history of sharing in each other’s cultural heritage, and do not suffer from the negatives like many Middle-Eastern countries.

“It is imperative we do not lose what we have, but build upon it and make it better. It is good that Harmony Week can be celebrated now, coming out of elections, so where ethnic distrust may be prevailing at some level, we can cross that divide at some level,” Pandit Persaud stated.

In recognising the importance of the event, Pandit Persaud urged religious leaders to visit schools in their areas, address students, and explain to them the significance of the week, and the importance of breaking barriers.

Meanwhile, Committee member Pastor Ronald Mc Garrell said support for the event last year was tremendous, as the State, other stakeholders, the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO), and religious leaders were instrumental in the success of Harmony Week 2011.

Activities to be observed during the week include a prayer breakfast at the National Cultural Centre at 09:30 hrs today, at which Members of Parliament, the diplomatic community and religious leaders from around the country will meet.

Following this, there will be a symposium from 13:00 hrs to 16:00 hrs; and, on Friday, all will be invited to participate in the Harmony Walk from the Cenotaph, proceeding along Church Street to the Promenade Gardens for a cultural presentation.

“We will also be having a tree-planting exercise around the city,” Pastor Mc Garrell informed.

The United Nations launched the first World Interfaith Harmony Week on February 1st, 2011 with a broad range of activities around the world, including interfaith breakfasts, film screenings, and talks featuring the active participation of civil society, UN entities, and other intergovernmental organizations.

The draft resolution A/65/L5, titled the World Interfaith Harmony Week, put forth by Jordan was sponsored by 29 co-sponsors: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Liberia, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Yemen.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 23:55