…as Interfaith Harmony Week launchedFollowing a proposal taken to the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by King Abdullah II of Jordan, that august body declared the first week of February World Interfaith Harmony Week.This year, World Interfaith Harmony Week is being observed under the love of the good and love of the neighbour banner, with the national theme being ‘Fostering Social Cohesion in Guyana.’Social Cohesion Minister, Dr. George Norton, at the launch of the week ofGovernment Ministers and representatives from the various religious organisations were at the launch of World Interfaith Harmony Weekactivities, commended religious leaders for the role they have played in encouraging religious harmony in Guyana. He told the gathering he believes that Guyana is a model of interfaith harmony, adding that he is proud of the high level of religious tolerance exhibited.“I am confident that if we apply the very tolerance and respect we have for religion to other areas of our lives, then Guyana can become the epitome of peace and love, and a model for the world to follow,” he said.“I want to encourage you to teach your child love for humanity. Children are our future, and they weren’t born with biases; so let us foster their innocence to create a better, more peaceful world,” Norton added.At the launching of the Week was Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes, who said the week should be used to pause and reflect on the important message of love for God and neighbour.“We know inherently that we want to live together in peace and harmony, and that confrontation is not a natural inclination. We need moral courage to allow us to go beyond racial prejudices; we must cultivate moral courage,” Hughes stated.According to the World Interfaith Harmony Week’s website, the week is based on the pioneering work of The Common Word Initiative, which started in 2007. The initiative called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments: Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour, without compromising any of their own religious tenets.The Two Commandments are at the heart of the three Monotheistic religions, and therefore provide the most solid theological ground possible.The World Interfaith Harmony Week provides a platform upon which all interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill can show the world what a powerful movement their unity is. The thousands of events organized by these groups often go unnoticed, not only by the general public, but also by other groups themselves.World Interfaith Harmony Week will allow for these groups to become aware of each other, and strengthen the movement by building ties and avoiding duplicating each other’s efforts.It is hoped that this initiative would provide a focal point from which all people of goodwill can recognize that the common values they hold far outweigh the differences they have, and thus provide a strong dosage of peace and harmony to their communities.