Toronto Muslims Mark Faith Harmony Week

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Published: 03/02/2013 01:18:08 PM GMT

TORONTO – The Muslim community in Canada’s largest city of Toronto will be observing World Interfaith Harmony this week to help promote understanding between people of all faiths.?Toronto is one of the world’s most diverse (more)

TORONTO – The Muslim community in Canada’s largest city of Toronto will be observing World Interfaith Harmony this week to help promote understanding between people of all faiths.

?Toronto is one of the world’s most diverse cities in the world, and it is a perfect place to put these principles to work,? John Voorpostel, Chair of the Toronto Steering Committee organizing the week’s activity, told

?This is why the theme of our first year’s celebration of this week is ?Looking for Ways to Work Together’.”

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The World Interfaith Harmony Week was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in October, 2010 as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.

The idea for the week was brought to the United Nations by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan in September 2010 and, in less than a month, it was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly.

In the 2010 resolution, the UN General Assembly pointed out that mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace.

?It grew out of the Common Word initiative that, in the first instance, extended this philosophy of learning and understanding and reconciliation outwards to all faiths,? said Voorpostel.

The Week provides a platform?one week in a year?when all interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill organize common events to showcase what a powerful movement they are.

“The World Interfaith Harmony Week seeks to spread the message of harmony and tolerance among the followers of all the world’s religions, faiths and beliefs,? says the official website of the Week.

?It seeks to do this by promoting their common basis of ?Love of God and Love of the Neighbor, or Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor?. Its message invites everyone, excludes no one, and is purely voluntary.”

In its first year in 2010, there were 200 registered interfaith events held in over 40 countries, all organized in little over three months.

Last year, the World Interfaith Harmony Week grew to over 300 events worldwide.

The Common Word initiative, which started in 2007, called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments: Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour.


This year’s events marking the week started with an event to celebrate inter-faith culture at the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

?On February 1, 2013, the Toronto branch of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada is hosting ?Celebrating Interfaith Culture’, an evening that will bring people of various faiths together to dine and experience an evening of music, chant and poetry,? Voorpostel told

?The week will culminate on February 7 at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center when 10 faith leaders will speak about their faith, their interfaith experience, and what they would like to accomplish or offer up to the interfaith community in 2013.?

Voorpostel is encouraged by the response from religious groups and interfaith communities.

“Those we have reached react favorably, and the interfaith community is excited,” he said.

“It is a first in Toronto, and everyone we speak to understand the importance of getting to know one another better.

“It is our hope to reach more and more faith communities in the coming years,? he said.

Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada’s 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.