This first week in February, from the 1st through the 7th, marks World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Behind this debuting event is the United Nations, in an effort to spread mutual respect and goodwill amongst the multi-faceted network of spiritual beliefs and practices. Not only Christians an Muslims, but all faith believers, as well as those of no set beliefs are encouraged to build cooperation, acceptance, and understanding through dialogue.
Ecumenical leader, Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, points out that “…This is vital in times when there are many who seek to divide people of faith instead of finding ways to enhance our lives together through the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination.”
This weeklong observance had its origins in 2009, from a document entitled “A Common Word Between Us and You.” Supported by King Abdullah II of Jordan, it declared the commonality of Christianity and Islam. Stemming from that was a starting point of many meetings advocating some type of dialogue. King Abdullah addressed the 65th UN General Assemble in 2010, calling for a global interfaith observance.
What resulted has been a vast number of events in the United States and around the world in the form of harmony breakfasts, film screenings, grassroots dialogues, and arts-focused celebrations. Ironically, despite the current unrest in Egypt, a festival, “My Neighbor—East and West’” was scheduled to take place on Wednesday in the city of Maadi.
This visionary week is not intended as a call to water down one’s beliefs, but to respect differences as we unite around the principles of love, human kindness, and servanthood.
Graphic used in this post from www.agnt.org website.