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|Interfaith Harmony Week Observed in Pakistan|
|By RYS - Pakistan|
|Thursday, February 07, 2013|
Multan, Pakistan - Religious Youth Service-Pakistan observed World Interfaith Harmony Week in Multan with a variety of activities from February 1 to 7 under the supervision of the Society for the Promotion of Education and Awareness (SEAP).
Interfaith Harmony Breakfast, February 1
SEAP-Pakistan with the collaboration of Religious Youth Service-Pakistan organized an Interfaith Harmony Breakfast at the beginning of World Interfaith Harmony Week on February 1 at SEAP-Pakistan's National Secretariat in Multan. Around 30 people from different faiths in Pakistan gathered for the Interfaith Harmony Breakfast. The program started with a recitation from the Holy Qur'an and prayers by Hindus and Christians. Makhdom Tariq Abbass Shamsi (Sajada Nasheen, Hazrat Shah Shamas Sabzwari Darbar) was the chief guest. Addressing the people of different faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, Mr. Marcus Younas (Executive Director of SEAP-Pakistan) and Makhdom Tariq Abbass Shamsi welcomed people to the early morning meal and recalled the days when people of all faiths were living together peacefully in the area that is now Pakistan and India. They further shared a hope and vision that people can live together in oneness, noting that food has no faith or denomination. All things are created by the One Creator whom different faiths of people call by different titles. The participants also reflected on the theme: “Celebrating Interfaith Harmony for Love and Service to God and One Another.”
Interfaith Candle Lighting Ceremony, February 2
An Interfaith Harmony Candle Lighting Ceremony took place at the shrine of Hazrat Shah Shams Tabrez on February 2. Located in the mystical city of Multan, the famous shrine honors the saint who came from Baghdad and died in 1276 AD at Multan. The shrine was built in 1330 AD. The tomb is square, 30 feet in height, and covered by a hemispherical dome. People from different faiths gathered for Candlelight Vigil Prayer for Peace and Interfaith Harmony. Mr. Marcus Younas led the prayer from the Christian community, and Makhdom Tariq Abbass Shamsi from the Muslim community and Mr. Nand Lal from the Hindu community prayed that peace would prevail and that interfaith harmony will spread throughout the country and the world. Selections from sacred writings and quotes by notable people were read while candles were lit for peace. Sacred readings were also read by representatives of various faiths. The speakers, including Agha Muhammad Ali Rizvi, Naeem Iqbal Naeem, Zafar Shaheen, Atif Saeed, and Shazer Gill, expressed hope that the message of harmony and tolerance will spread among the followers of all the religions, faiths, and beliefs of Pakistan.
Essay Competition, January 1 to February 5
SEAP-Pakistan conducted an Essay Competition among students of different institutions on the topic of Interfaith Harmony and Global Peace. The language for the essay competition was English. Students from different institutions of Japan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan participated in the competition and sent their essays by email. The Review Committee comprising members from the participating countries reviewed all the essays and declared Mr. Adnan Qamar the winner and Mr. Abdullah Irfan the runner up. SEAP-Pakistan awarded shields and certificates to the winner and runner up. In addition, all of the participating students were also awarded Certificate of Participation.
National English Debate Competition, February 6
For World Interfaith Harmony Week, SEAP-Pakistan in collaboration with Religious Youth Service-Pakistan organized a National English Debate Competition at the Pastoral Institute in Multan among students of the universities, colleges, and schools in Pakistan on February 6. SEAP-Pakistan awarded trophies, shields, and certificates to the best debaters. The results of the Essay Competition were also announced. All of the participating students were awarded "Certificate of Participation." The topic of the debate competition was: “Television is the leading cause of violence in today's society.”
Press Conference, February 7
At the Multan Press Club Hall. RYS-Pakistan invited one religious leader each from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communities to share perspectives about interfaith harmony in Pakistan and answer questions from journalists. The Press Conference also evaluated and highlighted the activities during World Interfaith Harmony Week.
See also photos of other World Interfaith Harmony Week 2013 events.