The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

10 Years After 9/11, Different Faiths Seek Harmony 17 February , 2011

It’s always good to have friends in times of crisis. But it’s even better to have friends all the time.

A panel of religious leaders encouraged faith communities to talk, learn and celebrate together.

More than 160, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus gathered in Atlanta Feb. 2 to mark the first United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who is also chairman of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ committee on interreligious affairs, was among the panelists asked to speak at the gathering.

Jewish Rabbi Analia Bortz, of the Congregations Or Hadash, Ahavath Achim Synagogue, recited a biblical verse, “Happy is the heart who seeks for God.”

People should be constant seekers, trying to understand each other and God, she said. Spiritual knowledge should be dynamic, she said.

“We are here to respect our differences and celebrate our similarities,” she said.



From HuffPost: Rahim Kanani: An Interview With Ruth Turner of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation 16 February , 2011

In a recent interview with Ruth Turner, Chief Executive of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, we discussed the significance of World Interfaith Harmony Week, the work of the Faith Foundation, ways in which we can engage difference, and more.

Rahim Kanani: What was your reaction to the passing of the United Nations General Assembly resolution to recognize World Interfaith Harmony Week annually during the first week of February?

Ruth Turner: I think what is significant about this is the recognition by the UN that the world only really works if the issue of how different religions interact with each other and the secular world is not swept aside, but is proactively and positively addressed. Too often we put religion in the “too difficult box”. I can understand why. But it means so much to such great proportions of the world’s population that no matter how difficult it is to talk about religion, it’s dangerous not to. If we avoid tricky conversations, into that vacuum rush people who will distort ideas and convictions. Those who ferment religious extremism and prejudice have no hesitation about speaking out as loudly as they can, and claiming the dominance of their ideas. Why should the rest of us simply back off and leave them the stage? We need to hear a counter position. Having spoken to HRH Prince Ghazi, who with King Abdullah of Jordan was the instigator of this, I also appreciated the simplicity and directness of the idea. The silent majority need to speak up and counter the ignorance and the intolerance: this is a week when those voices of moderation, co-operation, open-mindedness and respect can all be heard together. I hope over time it will grow – with religious leaders everywhere knowing that at least once every year their congregations will expect to hear this message explicitly from them.



Indonesia Celebrates World Interfaith Harmony Week 7 February , 2011

JAKARTA, Feb 7 (Bernama) — Hundreds of adherents of different faiths all over the country celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week at the Senayan indoor stadium here on Sunday, Antara news agency reported.

“The event is the formal agenda of the United Nations aimed at campaigning for the importance of harmonious life among adherents of different faiths,” Chairman of the Presidium of the Inter-Religious Council (IRC) for Indonesia Prof Dr Din Syamsuddin said in his address to the event.

Din said the event also served as a means to gather interfaith figures to address a myriad of social problems facing the nation. READ MORE


Hindus Welcome “Interfaith Harmony Week” 3 February , 2011

Hindus have applauded the launching of “World Interfaith Harmony Week” by United Nations (UN).

Notable Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that “it was step in the right direction”.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that despite our seriously different traditions, we should learn to live together in mutual trust and peace. Dialogue would bring us mutual enrichment and help us overcome prejudices passed on to us by previous generations.

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Huffington Post: U.N. Marks First Annual ‘Interfaith Harmony Week’

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The United Nations kicked off the first “World Interfaith Harmony Week” on Tuesday (Feb. 1) to promote dialogue and civility among the world’s religions.

The observances are meant to reaffirm that “mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace,” according to a resolution passed by the U.N. General Assembly.

The resolution establishes the annual events during the first week of February each year.

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San Francisco Chronicle: URI Celebrates World Interfaith Harmony Week 2 February , 2011

As popular uprisings roil the Middle East and North Africa this week, a revolution of a different kind is just beginning to take shape. Tuesday marked the start of the first annual United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, February 1-7. Crowded amidst a dizzying array of UN days, weeks, month, even decades, this designated week stands out as the first global-level acknowledgment of the importance of interfaith cooperation and understanding to world peace and prosperity.

Initiated by King Abdullah II of Jordan, the week is a chance for interfaith advocates, religious and government leaders, and people of all walks of life to celebrate the common ground they share as people of faith and conviction and take a united stand against violence in the name of religion.

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The Californian: Rev. Dr. Lillian Capehart: Support World Interfaith Harmony week 31 January , 2011

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Can we be more open-minded to those proclaiming a different faith or no faith at all?

Have we ever treated others who have different beliefs as adversaries undeserving of respect and dignity? Can you imagine knowing and living in a community or a world where love dominates and is manifested as interfaith harmony?

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution declaring the first week of February as World Interfaith Harmony Week.

The idea was initially proposed by King Abdullah II of Jordan to further broaden his goals of world harmony beyond the Muslim and Christian communities to include not only people of all beliefs, but those without religious beliefs as well. READ MORE


From Illume Magazine: UN Establishes World Interfaith Harmony Week 2 November , 2010

In October, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution deeming the first week of February each year to be ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week.’ The initiative was proposed by King Abdullah of Jordan and co-sponsored by 29 other countries. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad delivered the King’s proposal in September, encouraging all states to “spread the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship…to each according to their own religious traditions or convictions.”

Citing Gallup Poll findings in a recent international survey on religion, Prince Ghazi spoke of how 53% of Westerners have “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” opinions of Muslims. Additionally, he told of how 30% of Muslims worldwide hold negative views of Christians.

The General Assembly agreed that there is an urgent need for engagement among “different faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.”

The proposal specifically highlighted Muslims, Christians and Jews for  making up 55% of the world’s population, and their involvement in many  of the world’s conflicts. However, the language used in the resolution  was drafted to exclude no one:  “Every person of goodwill, with or without faith can and should commit to Love of the Neighbor and Love of God or Love of the Neighbor and Love of the Good.”