World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) couldn’t have come at a better time. With the recent US travel bans against countries that are predominantly Muslim and persecution of faith groups including Christians at an all-time high; it sometimes feels like there is a war on religion as a whole.
The WIHW was established by the United Nations General Assembly to bring religious groups together to enhance harmony and the common good.
There is no denying that there are differences in certain teachings and the way faith groups worship but what is common is the humble belief of something bigger than ourselves.
Specifically, the WIHW website points to the two fundamental commandments that say love God and love thy neighbour, stating:
“The Two commandments are at the heart of the three Monotheistic religions and therefore provide the most solid theological ground possible.”
The basis and goal of the week also extends to those who hold the belief and ‘love of the good’, which aims to bring people of all religions and belief systems to work together towards peace.
This is an important notion when more than ever there has been a push through politics and the media to wedge an even bigger divide between people. Last month Insights sat down with interfaith leaders to discuss the importance of creating dialogue in combating the fear of the ‘other’ and taking a more compassionate approach to social issues.
Fr. Shenouda Mansour who participated in the round table discussion spoke about the importance of remembering that we are all children of God.
“We have this common faith tradition and at its fundamental level is about peace, justice, love, passion and protection of the less fortunate,” said Fr Shenouda.
Already faith leaders have shown unity as 304 religious leaders from 58 countries including President of Uniting Church in Australia Stuart McMillan signed the COP22 Interfaith Climate Statement. This statement, which was a resounding call to protect God’s creation and sustainability of future generations is just one example of how interfaith initiatives can create dialogue and influence positive social action.
You can read more about World Interfaith Harmony Week here.