Malaysia is third in World Interfaith Harmony Week Competition

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by Sean Augustin of

28 March, 2013

PUTRAJAYA (March 28): An initiative to promote better religious ties in multi-racial Malaysia won the bronze medal in this year's World Interfaith Harmony Week Competition.

Minister in the Prime Minister Department Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon said the win notched up by the country's World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) Malaysia was proof that the efforts by the religious leaders here had been recognised.

He said the win, which will see the country earn $5,000 in prize money, was a sign that such efforts should be continued.

Over 10,000 people took part in the week-long WIHW Malaysia 2013 celebration, which was held Feb 1-7 - Among the programmes held were sermons and prayers in houses of worship, the Muhubah Travelogue and the Harmony Walk with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur on Feb 2.

"Although we won third place, it is a great encouragement. I hope we can score higher next year," he told reporters after making the announcement this morning.

First and second prizes went to the Interfaith Mediation Centre in Kaduna, Nigeria and the Philippine Centre for Islam and Democracy respectively.

The competition was organised by the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute For Islamic Thought. The competition received 64 applications.

World Interfaith Harmony Week was a brainchild of the King of Jordan Abdullah II and his personal envoy and special adviser Prince Ghazi Muhammad, and presented at the UN general assmebly. It had been slated to be an annual celebration in the first week of February in all member countries.

The celebration is also aimed at increasing multi-racial cooperation and harmony worldwide following the misunderstanding on Islam and terrorism after the Sept 11 attacks in 2001.

The judges comprised 7 individuals including Princess Areej Gahzi, who is the wife to Prince Ghazi, and Patriarch Theophilus III of the Holy City, Palestine and Jordan.

The judges based their decision on those who had the courage to hold events in areas marked by recent interfaith tension or conflicts. They took into consideration efforts made and also the excellence in efforts.

The prize giving ceremony will take place on April 25, by the River Jordan, the site where Jesus Christ - a prominent figure in both the Christian and Islamic faith - was baptised.