UN Sets Up Yearly World Interfaith Harmony Week

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Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation by Edd K. Usman

MANILA, Philippines – On the initiative of His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously proclaimed the holding of the “World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs” to be observed yearly on the first week of February starting in 2011.

In support of the effort to achieve world peace, the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID) headed by Amina Rasul, has joined the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in hailing the UN General Assembly resolution establishing the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW).

The OIC under Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanuglo and the PCID also responded positively to the appeal of Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan to muster support for the WIHW.

King Abdullah II first proposed the resolution on the WIHW to the UN on Sept. 23 – His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi introduced and explained before the General Assembly the resolution before the UN members voted on Oct. 20.

In a letter to Rasul, the Jordanian prince said the UN General Assembly approved the WIHW resolution sponsored by 30 UN members.

The WIHW resolution “re-affirms that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace; proclaims the first week of February of every year the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs; encourages all States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, Temples and other places of Worship during the week based on Love of God and Love of the Neighbor, or based on the Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor, each according to their own religious traditions of convictions.”

“I am writing to you to seek your help and involvement,” Ghazi, special envoy of King Abdullah II, wrote PCID’s Rasul.

The PCID lead convener welcomed the opportunity to help in spreading the message of peace through the WIHW.

In an email received by the Manila Bulletin from the OIC Secretariat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Ihsanuglo hailed the UN General Assembly for passing the resolution.

Ihsanuglo stressed “that the UN resolution falls in line with OIC policies including the initiative for interfaith dialogue by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz (Al-Saud) of Saudi Arabia.”

The top OIC official said the furthering interfaith harmony is at the core of the pan-Islamic body’s priority towards cultural diplomacy. Marking the “World Interfaith Harmony Week will serve peoples of all faiths and beliefs to coexist in peace, harmony and goodwill,” said Ihsanuglo.