The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) commemorates the UN designated World Interfaith Harmony Week which takes place annually in the first full week of February. The week provides a platform 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
Commenting on this, the Chief Executive of TCF, Anas Altikriti said ‘The start of 2013 has been marred with inter and intra faith clashes across much of the world. More initiatives that can allow people to come together and acknowledge each other’s uniqueness whilst working for the common good needs to be encouraged’.
Now more than ever is the need to move towards a sense of peace and mutual respect for people of faith and no faith. Religious scriptures all envision a pluralistic world, mutual understanding and religious tolerance, emphasising love of the Creator and love of the neighbour in contributing towards meaningful peace around the world. This has to be realised in reality so that we treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.
Thus we need to collectively work to restore empathy and compassion to the forefront of our initiatives such that breeding violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate. We need to ensure that our youth are given accurate information about other traditions, religions and cultures. We need to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity. We need to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings.
Whilst recognising this week as a platform for dialogue leading to respect and understanding, TCF calls for multi-faith action that produces tangible outcomes for communities in the front line and that also engages practically with faith leaders in order to resolve and avoid conflict and bring about peace, tolerance and harmony at the grass roots.
TCF calls for the creation of more organised response mechanisms at all levels and the support of existing initiatives such as the Interfaith Harmony Week or The World Parliament of Religions in order to build momentum that can educate people about each other and that can condemn all forms of discrimination, intolerance and oppression against ethnic and religious minorities.
There is a need to speak out and stand for justice in the spirit of the following verse from the Quran “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” Surah An Nisa 4: 135
It is only with this type of attitude that the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community is possible.
1. If you are doing some events to celebrate this week, please do share your stories and photographs with us, so we can put it on our website.