UNGA President calls on international community to foster interfaith harmony

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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Vuk Jeremic on Thursday honored World Interfaith Harmony Week by calling on the international community “to foster harmony amongst religions, as a foundation for establishing a global culture of peace.”

“Our world is still characterized by too much confrontation, intolerance, and recurring warfare,” Jeremic said as he addressed a special event, titled “United for a Culture of Peace through Interfaith Harmony” to mark the Week.

He noted that people of faith should genuinely focus on the core ethical tenets they hold in common, fostering interfaith harmony so as to establish a global culture of peace.

“Let us reach out to one another, on equal footing, and truly work on healing the wounds of centuries of conflict between peoples of different religions,” he added.

“The United Nations can greatly benefit from further engaging with religious leaders from around the world who advocate the path of peace,” the GA president said as he acknowledged the UN agencies that have embraced this idea.

He specifically highlighted United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN General Assembly as significant factors in “recognizing the importance of strengthening partnerships with faith-based groups” and “taking small step towards overcoming strife and hatred in the name of religion.”

These UN agencies and others are “advancing efforts for this august body to truly become an Assembly of Peace” by reaching out to one another and participating in the creation of “equal footing ” so true “work on healing the wounds of centuries of conflict between peoples of different religions” can begin, he said.

On October 2010 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 65/5 which created the first week in February as the annual World Interfaith Harmony week.

This resolution “encourages all States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill,” he said.

Moreover, the week of the 1st-7th of the month is “based on love of God and love of one’s neighbor [..], each according to their own religious traditions or convictions,” he said.

According to the interfaith Harmony Week website, this week was established by the pioneering work of “The Common Word initiative” established in 2007.

The six-year old agreement called for Muslim and Christian leaders to “engage in dialogue based on two common fundamental religious commandments,” the website said.

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