Thursday, February 01, 2018

World Interfaith Harmony Week 2018

The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan. Just under a month later, on October 20, 2010, it was unanimously adopted by the UN and henceforth the first week of February will be observed as a World Interfaith Harmony Week.

I grew up in a culture that was imbued with religion, politics, sport and community. Most of my early cultural landscape was tribal from my identity as Catholics in Australia our politics in Australian Labor Party world view, our membership to the Geelong Football Club Supporters Page and our network of mostly Anglo-Celtic relatives and friends.

The cracks began when my younger brother announced his loyalty to the Essendon Football Club. There had been some intermarriage with people who were not Catholic and the ALP commitment had been tempered by the influence of Bob Santamaria

My childhood home was decorated in the style of traditional Catholic homes with Icons of Christ, Saints and Mary staring down from the walls. The only religion that crossed the threshold of conversation was Catholic with the occasional nod to the "Non Catholics.". The words, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism were not part of our vocabulary and Buddhism was only acknowledged as the exotic background to The King and I

The childhood home has now changed hands and a new era of relationships has taken me into the wonders of religious diversity in thee human story.

I first walked into prayer in a Mosque in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines in 1979. I have joined with Jewish, Hindu, Muslim Baha'i i and other Christians in prayer and common work that has enriched and nurtured my spirit.

May we all be renewed in our common commitment to peace and goodwill during this week of Interfaith harmony.

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