World Interfaith Harmony Week was proclaimed by the General Assembly on 20 October 2010. In the resolution, the General Assembly, points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.
Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, the General Assembly encourages all countries to spread the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week, on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions.
At the core of all the faith systems and traditions is the recognition that we are all in this together and that we need to love and support one another to live in harmony and peace in an environmentally sustainable world. Our world continues to be beset by conflict and intolerance with rising number of refugees and the internally displaced in a hostile and unwelcoming world around them. We are also unfortunately witnessing messages of hate spreading discord among people. The need for spiritual guidance has never been greater. It is imperative that we double our efforts to spread the message of good neighborliness based on our common humanity, a message shared by all faith traditions.
It seeks to spread the message of harmony and tolerance among the followers of the three monotheistic faiths and all the world’s religions. It also seeks to promote the common basis of “Love of God and Love of the Neighbour, or Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbour” among religions to safeguard world peace. Its message invites everyone, excludes no one, and is purely voluntary.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week extends the Two Commandments by adding ‘Love of the Good, and Love of the Neighbour’. This formula includes all people of goodwill. It includes those of other faiths, and those with no faith.
Recognizing that the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding,
- Reaffirms 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 that week, 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;
Plan Your Event…..
- Harmony Breakfasts:People all over the world are organizing such breakfasts. The great thing is that they don’t take much effort to put together: they just require fresh food, seating, open minds and empty stomachs. Nothing starts a day off better than eating a wholesome breakfast with kind-hearted spirits.
- Watch a Movie: Inviting people to watch a movie can lead to great discussions afterwards which can lead to better understanding of different faiths.
- Bazaar/Fair:Every community has within it creative and entrepreneurial souls who love to gather with like-minded individuals. Why not set up a World Bazaar where you can buy products and try food from all over the world. Organize one during a weeknight or as a weekend fair.
- Community Interfaith Declaration:Sometimes the best way to make a clear statement is by simply making a clear statement. Gather with leaders of different religious congregations in your locality and issue a declaration supporting interfaith harmony. We may have different theological beliefs but we can unite around the main principles that the World Interfaith Harmony Week was established on.
- Greening Sacred Spaces:Environmental issues like global warming affect us all and we can all come together to work towards solutions. Gather with other religious communities in your area and share your resources to help green all places of worship in your local community.
- Joint Community Work: A t the end of the day, faith should lead one to do good to others. As the saying goes: ‘Actions speak louder than words.’ What better way is there to show the positive force of faith than by joining together to do good to one’s neighbors? Gather and do such activities such as:
- a community cleanup of a river or park
- feeding the homeless
- blood-donation drives
- health fairs
- plant a community garden
- fix a run-down playground
- paint and spruce up community centers
- paint an interfaith mural.