UN launches first World Interfaith Harmony Week

In News by Noora Chahine

UN News Centre

1 February 2011 – The United Nations launched the first World
Interfaith Harmony Week today with a broad range of activities around
the world, including interfaith breakfasts, film screenings and talks
featuring the active participation of civil society, UN entities and
other intergovernmental organizations.

The UN General Assembly in November resolved that the first
week of February be devoted to spreading “the message of interfaith harmony and
goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and
other places of worship… based on love of God and love of one’s
neighbour or on love of the good and love of one’s neighbour, each
according to their own religious traditions or convictions.”

“The first World Interfaith Harmony Week is an opportunity to
focus
global attention on the efforts of religious leaders, interfaith
movements and individuals around the world to promote mutual respect
and understanding between followers of different faiths and beliefs,”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message. “These partners play
an indispensable role in supporting United Nations efforts for peace.

“Respect for diversity and peaceful dialogue are essential if
the human
family is to cooperate globally to face shared threats and seize common
opportunities,” said Mr. Ban.

“That is why efforts by States, civil society and other actors
to build
trust among communities and individuals lie at the heart of so many
United Nations initiatives, from the Alliance of Civilizations to our
wide-ranging work to protect human rights, promote social cohesion and
build a culture of peace.”

The Alliance of Civilizations is an initiative launched in
2005 by
Spain and Turkey under UN auspices to promote better cross-cultural
relations worldwide.

From Jerusalem to Malappuram in India, from Amman in Jordan to
Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, from Sedona in the United States to
Newcastle in Australia, and a myriad of other places special events are
being held to shine the spotlight on the need for interfaith
understanding.

Source.