World Interfaith Harmony Week was proposed in 2010 and occurs annually in the first week of February. It is a relatively new cultural introduction when compared to events such as World Religion Day each January.
In his speech to the UN, King Abdullah II of Jordan proposed the following:
“It is (also) essential to resist forces of division that spread misunderstanding and mistrust especially among peoples of different religions. The fact is, humanity everywhere is bound together, not only by mutual interests, but by shared commandments to love God and (your) neighbour; to love the good and (your) neighbour. This week, my delegation, with the support of our friends on every continent, will introduce a draft resolution for an annual World Interfaith Harmony Week. What we are proposing is a special week, during which the world's people, in their own places of worship, could express the teachings of their own faith about tolerance, respect for the other and peace.”
Prizes worth up to $25,000 are awarded to those who promote interfaith harmony. The winner of 2021’s highest accolade went to the Wellington Interfaith Council in New Zealand. All faiths represented at the events shared a prayer or message based on the theme of WIHW. The Executive Director from the Office of Ethnic Communities (a government agency) was invited to make an address at the event. Free public food distribution was provided for almost 200 people. Educational literature and holy texts of diverse religious faiths were displayed. The event provided an opportunity for people to
dialogue and ask questions and be better informed about different faiths and practices.
The event has its own anthem- recorded by British artist Sami Yusef in 2015 named ‘The Gift of Love’; the music video was also filmed at the baptism site of Jesus in Jordan and across holy sites in Jerusalem.
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