“God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” Genesis. 1:3
The bible tells us that God created the firmament and everything else the same way – with his word. And this original force or “word” is still what we all have in common.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week is based on The Common Word initiative. Starting in 2007, it called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments:
Love of God (or Good), and
Love of our Neighbors.
This summary formula of the word, applies equally to people of goodwill regardless of their faith, including those who proclaim to have no faith! And the acknowledgement of this formula has been responsible for bringing together the highest ranking Christian and Muslim leaders from around the world!
These two commandments are at the heart of what all Christians and Muslims (among others) have in common, and therefore provide the most solid theological ground possible for expressing harmony between divergent religious beliefs.
Here is a summary of the interfaith accomplishments that have resulted from this realization between 2007 and 2009.
On September 23, 2010, The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly. Just under a month later, on October 20, 2010, it was unanimously adopted by the UN, resolving that henceforth the first week of February will be observed as a World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week provides a platform for one week each year, when all interfaith-friendly groups can show the world what a powerful movement they are.
“The thousands of events organized by these groups often go unnoticed not only by the general public, but also by other groups themselves. This week will allow for these groups to become aware of each other and strengthen the movement by building ties and avoiding duplicating each others’ efforts.”
With over 300 Letters of Support from UN officials and high-ranking religious authorities, and with over 200 registered events in over 40 countries, the first World Interfaith Harmony Week last year was a tremendous success. And the week long event, beginning this coming Monday, promises to be spread at least as much harmony worldwide!
“It is hoped that this initiative will provide a focal point from which all people of goodwill can recognize that the common values they hold far outweigh the differences they have, and thus provide a strong dosage of peace and harmony to their communities.”