Interfaith Harmony Week Commemorated in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - UPF-Malaysia celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week on February 18 with a video screening of the search for spirituality in all religions, followed by an illuminating panel discussion on practical approaches to peace.

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Drawing a crowd of about 100 participants from various faith traditions, the event – held at a meeting hall in Kuala Lumpur -- highlighted the need for all religions to establish "Common Ground for the Common Good."

The panel discussion, moderated by UPF Council member Datin Zam, featured a Christian church elder Joseph Thambiah and UPF-Malaysia council member Encik Mahadi Mohamad. Mr Thambiah lamented that disunity had become a commonplace occurrence with infighting tearing groups and communities apart. He asked for better understanding of others in order to promote unity in diversity. Encik Mahadi urged every family to play a role in breaking down communal barriers and misunderstanding. They could do this by initiating fraternal programs such as encouraging their children to invite friends of other races for a day’s stay in their homes.

A spirited question-and-answer session followed, with the audience asking for specific means to improve the level of understanding amongst all communities.

Earlier, in welcoming participants at the start of the event, UPF-Malaysia President Tan Sri Devaki Krishnan explained that the World Interfaith Harmony Week was initiated by King Abdullah II of Jordan two years ago.

After her speech, representatives of five religious traditions poured cups of water into a common bowl to symbolize their unity of hearts. Representing the Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, and Hindu faiths in this Water of Peace ceremony were Mahadi Mohamad, UPF-Malaysia council member; Venerable Hemaloka of Buddhist Maha Vihara Brickfields; Pastor Maniam Muniandy of Grace Assembly Carey Island; Dr. Pall Singh of the Sikh faith; and Mr. S. Selvalingasivam of Malaysia Hindu Sangam.

The event was supported by the Buddhist Maha Vihara, INSAF, Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Unificationism, and Women for Family Welfare Promotion of Selangor and the Federal Territory (Women's Federation for World Peace).

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