Feb 05, 2013 | 22:04
In 2010, His Majesty King Abdullah proposed that the international community mark the first week of February every year as the World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The UN General Assembly endorsed the initiative and adopted a resolution to that effect.
On Monday, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs celebrated this occasion in the presence of Muslim and Christian religious leaders.
In a world torn apart by religious rivalries and conflicts, such events become a necessity; they draw attention to the need to live in harmony, away from artificially created differences among believers in different faiths.
Jordan, where Muslims and Christians have been living side by side in perfect agreement, is proof of religious tolerance and interfaith cooperation.
As one participant in the ministry’s event said, Muslims and Christian in Jordan live side by side in peace and harmony, partners in the building of the country. They are living proof that religious harmony and peaceful coexistence are not only possible but also practical and mutually beneficial.
Interfaith harmony and understanding should be emulated everywhere where individuals belonging to different religious denominations live side by side.
In our region, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria come to mind, as there, sectarian rivalries have often degenerated into devastating armed conflicts.
History has shown religious wars to be among the bloodiest and most savage armed conflicts, despite the fact that all religions preach peace and coexistence.
But for religious harmony to prevail, much more has to be done than observing it for a few days a year. Words need to be translated into actions. A good place to start is school. Children do not have prejudices and can be easily taught that people of different faiths hold the same values and beliefs.
Once the foundation is solid, interfaith coexistence becomes a smooth, natural state in any society.