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World Interfaith Harmony Week Observed in Brazil

Sao Paulo, Brazil - The United Nations’ World Interfaith Harmony Week was commemorated on Feb. 12, 2015, at the Indian Cultural Center.

The event was organized by UPF-Brazil in cooperation with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the Brazilian Association for the Freedom of Religion and Citizenship (ABLIRC), the interfaith band Soul of Peace and the Indian Cultural Center (ICC), which provided the auditorium.

Each of the guest speakers had two or three minutes to share an interfaith message.

Mr. Rafael Espadine, representing the Indian Cultural Center, gave the welcoming remarks, congratulating the audience for coming even though the event was occurring during the holiday season just before the Carnival.

Rev. Christian Lepelletier, UPF-Brazil secretary general, spoke on the importance of interreligious harmony as the first condition for world peace.

Dr. Samuel Gomes de Lima, president of ABLIRC, spoke about the importance of defending the right of religious freedom.

Mahesh Mahesvara, ISKCON interfaith secretary and founder of the Soul of Peace band, said we belong to one human family independent of our religious faith.

The other speakers were:

Prabhu Prana Natha Das, Sao Paulo ISKCON director;

Bishop Marcelo Rezende of the Liberal Catholic Church;

Thiago Rapsys representing the Demolay Order youth movement;

Mauricio Hondaku of Pure Land Buddhism, Shishu Otani Order;

Sheikh Mohamad Bukai, a theologian from the Islamic National Union;

Juliana Vilarinho from Brahma Kumaris;

Pastor Eliel Leonardo from the Assembly of God in the city of Guarulhos;

João Signorelli, an actor who has portrayed Mahatma Gandhi;

Toninho Macedo, director of the Abaçaí Culture and Revelando Sao Paulo;

Babalorisa Diego de Aira and Tata Matamotoride of the Candomble religion.

All the participants agreed that it is very important to meet and to build bridges between different cultures and religions, and they said that Brazil can be an example of harmony for the world.

The interfaith band Soul of Peace, a unique model of interfaith cooperation between musicians, presented several songs, composed by them, based on values found in all religions, such as respect, tolerance and love of others.

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