Interfaith Harmony Seminar organised by The Madin Islamic Academy, Kerala, India, and the International Islamic University of Malaysia

Posted on February 29th, 2012


The Madin Islamic Academy at Melmuri here and the International Islamic University of Malaysia will jointly organise an “interfaith harmony seminar” in Malaysia on March 1. The seminar will be part of a UN initiative for Interfaith Harmony and Tolerance.

Scholars from across the world will attend the seminar. Calicut University Vice Chancellor M. Abdul Salam; historian and former Vice Chancellor K.K.N. Kurup; and Madin Islamic Academy chairman Sayed Ibrahim Khaleel Bukhari will represent India at the seminar.

“The World Interfaith Harmony Week is not a call to water down one’s faith but to respect our differences and personal beliefs and to unite around the basic principles that people of all beliefs agree upon, and to understand that harmony can come only if we build upon a foundation of dialogues,” said Mr. Bukhari here on Wednesday.


The Matheson Trust and The Woolf Institute

Last Tuesday 7 February The Matheson Trust and The Woolf Institute celebrated together the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week 2012. On the grounds of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, representatives of five major religious traditions joined us to share with the audience live performances of some of their most significant prayers and sacred songs.


The World Interfaith Harmony Week 2012 at Washington Times Foundation

Introduction to Speech at the World Interfaith Harmony Week 2012

Good Evening Extinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

My name is Pramaha Thanat Inthisan. I am a Thai Buddhist monk residing at the temple Wat Thai Washington, D.C., in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am the representative from the Theravada tradition. Welcome to the World Interfaith Harmony week tonight. I’m glad that you are able to cerebrate the religions and cultures the we share as we create a path towards peace.

Today the followers of the most compassionate religious leader have a special duty to work for the establishment of peace in the world and to show an example to other by following their Master’s advices. The Buddha said that “All tremble at punishment, all fear death; comparing others with oneself, one should neither kill or cause to kill. (Dhammapada 129)

Peace is always obtainable. But the way to peace is not only through prayers and rituals. Peace is the result of man’s harmony with his fellow beings and with his environment. The peace that we try to introduce by force is not a lasting peace. It is an interval in between the conflict of selfish desire and worldly conditions.

Peace can not exist on this earth without the practice of tolerance. To be tolerant, we must not allow anger and jealousy to prevail in our mind. The Buddha says, “No enemy can harm one so much as one’s own thoughts of craving, hate and jealousy. (Dhammapada 42)

The world is like a mirror and if you look at the mirror with a smile face, you can see your own, beautiful smiling face. On the other hand, if you look at it with a long face, you will invariably see ugliness. Similarly, if you treat the world kindly the world will also certainly treat you kindly. Learn to be peaceful with yourself and the world will also be peaceful with you.

If we are to have peace in our world, each of us has to start by developing inner peace. Otherwise there will be no true peace in the world. And the thing that ensures we have inner peace, peace in our hearts, is an unselfish concern about the welfare of other people. In fact, we need to have loving-kindness—what we Buddhists call mettā—for all living things. It can rightly be said that loving-kindness and compassion are the foundation upon which the whole building of Buddhism stands. Destruction or injury to life is strictly forbidden. Harming or destroying any being from the highest to the lowest, from a human to the tiniest insect, must be avoided regardless of the cost. The Blessed One said, “Do not harm others. Just as you feel love on seeing a dearly beloved person, so should you extend loving-kindness to all living things.”

Usually, when I describe the essence of Buddhism, I say that at best we should try to help others, and if we cannot help them at least we should do them no harm. This teaching grows from the soil of love and compassion.

The aim of Buddhism is to guide everyone to lead a noble life without harming anyone, to cultivate humane qualities in order to maintain human dignity, to radiate all-embracing loving-kindness without any discrimination, to train the mind to avoid evil, and to purify the mind to gain peace and happiness. Buddhism is a religious that teaches people to “live and let live.” In the history of the world, there is no evidence to show that Buddhists have interfered or done any damage to any other religion in any part of the world for the purpose of introducing their religion. Buddhists do not regard the existence of other religions as a hindrance to worldly progress and peace. Instead of converting the followers of other religions to their religion, Buddhists can encourage others to practice their own religions, provided that they promote the well-being of all living beings. The Buddha’s message was an invitation to all to join a universal brotherhood and sisterhood to work in strength and harmony for the welfare and happiness of mankind. He had no chosen people, and he did not regard himself as a chosen person either.

The Buddha was concerned only about showing the path to ultimate happiness. He was not concerned with founding a religion in his name.

The Buddha wanted to show people the difference between good and evil; he wanted to teach humans how to lead a happy, peaceful, and righteous way of life. He never advised his disciples to convert people from one religion to another. His idea of conversion was to introduce a righteous, noble, and religious way of life. In fact, he said that the greatest miracle one could perform was to convert a bad person into a good one. Thank you very much!

United Peace Federation (in Kuala Lumpur)

I am very happy for this blog post... do take a read. I like anything that creates harmony and understanding.

Every year, the United Peace Federation (in Kuala Lumpur) organizes a yearly celebration called the “World Interfaith Harmony Week”. This celebration exists due to the kind initiative of King Abdullah II of Jordan… he pushed for the resolution to be passed in the United Nations General Assembly in 2010. Now, there are 33 other countries who participates in this celebration all over the world.

Liaison David Lai was invited as he is a very good English speaker. He often gets invited for talks now (See David speaking here re Bodhisattva vows: ). Along with David went Pastor Susan and a few Kecharians to the World Interfaith Harmony Week event.

Yesterday, about 100 people attended the World Interfaith Harmony Week congregation in KL. Those who attended were all from different races, cultures and religious backgrounds… How beautiful… Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs etc all discussing about interfaith-related matters.

The event began with an introduction of the celebration, followed by a screening of the video, “With One Voice”. Three panelists then spoke about their experiences of peace, how to foster it, and how they themselves have fostered it.

A Hindu swami stood up to say how he felt:

  1. He didn’t like that the panelists used the word “tolerance” because it means that you don’t truly accept something. It means you still hate or dislike something, but can’t do anything about it. He preferred “acceptance”.
  2. He wondered why the panelists wouldn’t answer. He said that he didn’t appreciate that the panelists skirted the issue.

In response to that, Pastor Susan stood up to elaborate:

  1. She agreed regarding the Hindu swami’s stance on tolerance but has come to accept it because it reflects the reality of the world today: where there is so little peace, we should aim for tolerance first then foster acceptance. She said that she has come to accept tolerance.
  2. She believed questions like that should be asked in the public sphere to draw people’s attention to it. People can’t keep avoiding the issue because it will leave us behind in the world. We need to ask hard questions to progress in our minds and thinking.

She added that such questions, if answered, what benefit would it bring to the conversation that day? According to those who went, Susan spoke clearly and with conviction, and did not hesitate when offering her opinion on a sensitive topic. She also publicly thanked the organisers on behalf of Kechara... for organising the event and said it was encouraging to see so many people come.

I’m happy to see Pastor Susan share her opinions at this inter-faith gathering. Inter-faith gatherings are not meant to find differences among each other’s faiths, but similarities in order to foster respect and genuine understanding. We all have to live in the world together and we all have our own faiths. It’s not feasible everyone belongs to one faith, but it is feasible everyone respects each other’s beliefs... Many people were very impressed with Pastor Susan and came up to speak to her after the event. Yes, Pastor Susan is very knowledgable and patient.

As Pastor Susan a question here or contact her:

Do take a look at the photos above.

Tsem Rinpoche

Honduras Interfaith Meeting and Forum

Semana da Harmonia Inter-Religiosa Mundial

Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA, 15 FEB 2012 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak photographed with religious leaders at the a gathering in conjunction with “World Interfaith Harmony Week” at Seri Perdana here today.

Also there, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Major General (Rtd) Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom (five front left) and Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (right next four).

Source: fotoBERNAMA

Interfaith Harmony Week at the UN- Armenia: 08/02/2012

Some 60 young Armenians learned more about freedom of religion, faith and belief religious tolerance and diversity, freedom of conscience and human rights at the debate led by well known human rights defender Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman of the Armenian Helsinki Committee.

The event was organized by the UN Department of Public Information and was dedicated to the World Interfaith Harmony being commemorated since 2011 in the first week of February, according to the UN General Assembly. (Photographer Aleksandra Patrakova)

Celebrations Organized by the Universal Peace Federation – February 2012

“Common ground for the common good” on the occasion of the World Interfaith Harmony Week

07 Feb 2012 { 10:00-13:00 }
President of the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Headquarters, United Nations Plaza, New York, NY