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|World Interfaith Harmony Week Observed in Malaysia|
|By Sudesh G. Balasubramaniam, UPF - Malaysia|
|Sunday, February 09, 2014|
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - An observance of the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week with the theme “Love of the Good, Love of the Neighbor” was organized by UPF-Malaysia on Feb. 9, 2014.
Ambassadors for Peace, religious leaders and representatives of NGOs gathered early Sunday morning at the Malaysia Peace Embassy. The program officially commenced with the singing of the National Anthem. Mr. Sudesh, deputy president of UPF-Malaysia, was the MC and explained that UPF-Malaysia has been observing the World Interfaith Harmony Week every year since its adoption by the UN.
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dr. Devaki Krishnan, president of UPF-Malaysia, gave the welcome remarks. She stressed that peace must first be found within ourselves and then radiate outwards in the context of loving and caring families then to the larger community, society and nations.
This was followed by the reading of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message by Madam Lina Cheng, president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace-Malaysia.
The religious representatives then took the stage to give the invocation drawing inspiration from their respective faith traditions. Islam was represented by Tuan Mahadi Mohamad, UPF council member and Ambassador for Peace; Christianity by Pastor Maniam, Chairman of the Shalom Community Service; Buddhism by Ven, B. Sri Saranankara Nayaka Thero, abbot of Sri Lanka Buddhist Vihara; Hinduism by Swami Swayam Jayananda, president of the Divine Life Society Sivananda Ashram, Batu Caves; and Taoism by Mr. Daozhang Tong, secretary general of the Federation of the Taoist Association of Malaysia.
After giving the multi-religious invocations, the religious representatives took part in a meaningful ceremony to mark the common basis of the theme of World Interfaith Harmony Week: “Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor.” They each poured water representing the wisdom, knowledge and commitment of their respective religious and faith traditions commemorating the hope of the United Nations as well all people of this nation for interfaith harmony.
The program continued with two special speech presentations. The first presentation was on Rebuilding the Malaysia Family. Mr. Joaquim Huang, vice president of UPF-Malaysia, and author of the book The Hidden Saviour in You, presented the fundamental notion that unity is prescribed in all religious scriptures.
This was followed by a presentation by Dr. Amir Farid Isahak, chairman of the Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship, on Religion, Spirituality and Interfaith Harmony. Dr Amir highlighted the necessary ingredients for interfaith harmony and urged respect for others’ beliefs and differences. He also emphasized the need for dialogue.
The observance came to a harmonious end with a closing song by three young Japanese women, Ayumi, Yoko and Mana, who are among the volunteers dispatched to 40 nations around the world by UPF co-founder Mother Moon. They rendered a beautiful Japanese song entitled “One Family.”
The observance enlightened all the participants that interfaith cooperation is a necessary precondition for peace and happiness in society, the nation and the world and a crucial need to work together for the benefit of the nation and all its people.
The program concluded with tokens of appreciation handed by Tan Sri Devaki Krishnan to the religious representatives and speakers.
To watch a video of the program click here.