World Interfaith Harmony Week Observed in Germany

Stuttgart, Germany - The UPF community center in Stuttgart hosted a celebration of the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week on Feb. 8, 2014.

The soprano Riwa Kawabata presented two delightful songs, accompanied by Daniel Henrich on the piano and concert guitar, which helped set the mood for the meeting. After a short introduction, Hubert Arnoldi, chairman of UPF-Stuttgart, explained the vision behind the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week. Representatives of various religious communities then presented their ideas on the theme, “Love of God and love of your neighbor.”

 Margot Belomo read a Buddhist prayer:

May all beings be happy,
May all beings be free from suffering,
May all beings cultivate true happiness,
May all beings practice equanimity and dwell in peace.

Finally, Hubert Arnoldi quoted from the autobiography of Rev Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the UPF, “Religions must bundle their wisdom and join together to create an ideal world.”

Two of the participants were appointed Ambassadors for Peace in recognition of their good work.

World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah of Jordan. On October 20, less than a month later, it was unanimously supported by members of the UN General Assembly, and since then, the first week of February has been observed as the World Interfaith Harmony Week.

The idea was inspired by the work of the Common Word Initiative, which started in 2007 and called for dialogue between Muslim and Christian leaders based on two common fundamental principles: the love of God and the love of one´s neighbor. These two commandments form the core of the three monotheistic religions and provide the most solid theological common ground.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week adopted the formula, “Love of the good and love of one´s neighbor,” which includes people of goodwill, people of other faiths and those with no faith.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week provides a platform for interfaith groups and groups of goodwill to show the world their great potential for world peace. The thousands of activities organized by these groups often go unnoticed, not only by the general public, but by the other groups. This week offers the groups the chance to become more aware of each others activities and to join forces.

It is hoped that this initiative will enable all people of goodwill to recognize that the common values we share are far greater than the differences between us, and will ultimately ensure peace and harmony in society.

Interfaith Harmony Week 2014 from Universal Peace Federation International

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