Religious harmony: Muslim pupils treat pensioners to tea

In News by

The Witness – South Africa

Julia Denny-Dimitriou

A NEW international initiative to promote peace and harmony between different religious groups has inspired pupils from a local Muslim school to treat a group of senior citizens to high tea.

To mark the newly inaugurated World Interfaith Harmony Week, 17 Grade 9 pupils from Nizamia Islamic School in the CBD visited residents of Padca’s Riverside Park Home on Bulwer Street yesterday.

After entertaining them with songs in Arabic and English, the pupils served refreshments that included a delicious spread of home-made treats.

Said project co-ordinator Saadia Mall (14): “Islam teaches that we should respect our elders. In arts and culture we are learning about caring for the elderly, so that is what we came today to do.”
Many of the pupils agreed that it was “touching” to observe and experience what it is like to be old and infirm, and also, to look after elderly people.

Following their visit, the girls were going to write an essay about their experience.
Mall said the class would also make a video of their visit and send it to the United Nations to show the body what they had done to honour Interfaith Harmony Week.

IN OCTOBER last year, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the first week of February each year as World Interfaith Harmony Week.

The resolution calls on states to support the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship.

The initiative is based on the spiritual foundation of “Love of God and love of neighbour or on love of the good and one’s neighbour, each according to their own traditions and convictions”.

A posting on the UN website noted that interfaith tensions constitute “one of the world’s greatest challenges”, creating “an imperative need to reaffirm and develop harmonious co-operation between the world’s different faiths and religions”.