29 January 2012
The Jordanians are at the forefront of efforts to spread the message of religious coexistence and harmony, stated Father Nabil Haddad, Executive Director of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center.
In an interview with Petra News Agency on Sunday, just days before the national celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week, he urged Jordanians to ignore, as always, the increasing number of radical teachings, instead calling on Amman, in its capacity as the starting point of harmony between religions, to continue this peaceful religious dialogue during the upcoming World Interfaith Harmony Week, the objective of which is to spread the values of love, justice and respect for others. And the fact that this initiative came from our country, highlights Amman, Jordan as a model of religious harmony, which embraces the minarets of mosques and the bell towers of churches in an image of tolerance and harmony.
He stressed that the idea for this International Week of Harmony was conceived by His Majesty King Abdullah II, and it was presented to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September of 2010 to widespread approval, resulting in the first week of every February being celebrated as a week of peace between religions. He also highlighted the importance to this initiative of the efforts of Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammad, His Majesty’s Personal Envoy and Special Advisor. In October 2010, Prince Ghazi presented the draft resolution, which he had written himself, in a powerful speech to the UN General Assembly 34th plenary meeting in New York.
Jordan has always played an important role in the leadership of this campaign for religious harmony, with its 2004 launch of the globally significant "Amman Message", which redefined Muslim-Christian relations.
Father Haddad also spoke of the significance of the 2007 document entitled “A Common Word Between Us and You”; the work of a consensus of 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals, whose objective was to emphasize the importance of mutual respect and tolerance between followers of both religions. The final version of this document was presented at a conference convened by the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in September under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II. The document confirmed that Islam and Christianity share the same two basic commandments, Love of God and Love of the Neighbor, and was well received and praised by Christian churches around the world.
He said that the proposal of World Interfaith Harmony Week by His Majesty the King was an expression of his sense of historical and religious responsibility to his people, in the wake of much religious tension, suspicion and hatred, which has led to the distortion of religious teachings and sectarian violence.
Father Haddad said that the initiative emphasizes the idea that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of the global culture of peace between religions. Thus, this week will provide a means to promote harmony among all people, regardless of their religion, and will spread the message of peace throughout the churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship worldwide.
He highlighted the fact that the JICRC will be organizing events to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week for the second year running at both local and international levels. He pointed out that this year will be marked by a return to working with the grassroots instead of the elite, thereby strengthening efforts at the most basic level to counter violence and misunderstanding. This will be accomplished by encouraging the use of positive dialogue and the establishment of a culture of mutual respect and acceptance, which is especially important in light of the violence that is going on in many communities as a result of the lack of religious tolerance.
The JICRC contributed to last year’s celebrations with various international partners from Europe and the United States and participated in the celebrations of WIHW 2011 by the United Nations in Geneva.