Interfaith Harmony Week: Cooperation And Action – OpEd

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The United Nations General Assembly on 20 October 2010 proclaimed the first week of February of each year as the Interfaith Harmony Week among all religions, faiths and beliefs.  The General Assembly resolution recognized ” the imperitive need for dialogue among faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony, and cooperation among people.”  The week has a potential to reduce religion-based tensions in the world.

Thus, the Association of World Citizens welcomes this effort to develop respect and mutuality among diverse cultures and religions. Today, there is a broad and deep movement toward openness and goodwill among religious and spiritual communities. New awareness of shared ethnical priciples opens the way for creative engagement.  There is a need for cooperative action to meet the economic, environmental, and social challenges that humanity faces.  The ecological crisis has a spiritual dimension. We must help humanity to develop reverence for life and respect for the sacredness of the Earth as our common home.

Spirituality is like an ever-expanding ripple. From the individual, it spreads and embraces the world.  Spirituality integrates  the salvation of the individual with the transformation of society.  The values of love, truth, justice, and compassion are basic to spirituality.

There is a need to multiply opportunities to explore shared spiritual experiences.  As the representatives of faiths meet, there can be an emphasis on the revitalization of spiritual movements as agents of social liberation and transformation.  Given the enormity of the challenges facing humanity, the faiths and religions of the world need to work together and harness their spiritual resources for the common good.

  René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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