The Editorial Staff
While most media coverage of interfaith deals with interfaith conflicts there have been significant progress in interfaith dialogue. Amongst the more prominent projects are the following:
A Common Word (ACW)
The ACW interfaith initiative celebrated its 5 year anniversary on October 13, 2012. Starting as an open letter from a group of 138 Muslim scholars and clerics addressed to Christian leaders everywhere, the ACW has become the catalyst behind a global bridge-building effort between Christians and Muslims. ACW focuses on the common ground between both religious communities, highlighting points of commonality found in the commandments to love God and one’s neighbour; (see www.ACommonWord.com).
The Muslim-Catholic Forum
This is a meeting of prominent religious leaders and scholars to be held every three years. The first Catholic-Muslim Seminar was held in the Vatican in 2008, and included an audience with H.H. Pope Benedict XVI. The second forum was at the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ in Jordan in November 2011. Twenty-four Catholic and twenty-four Muslim religious leaders, scholars, and educators discussed together the themes of: Reason, Faith, and the Human Person and issued a joint declaration surrounding these issues.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week
Extending the principles of A Common Word to include people of all faiths, and those with no faith, King Abdullah II of Jordan in his address to the UNGA 2010 proposed ‘Love of God and Love of Neighbour’, or ‘Love of the Good and Love of Neighbour’ to designate the first week of February, every year, as a World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW). A month later, the resolution, the brainchild of H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, the Chief Advisor for Religious and Cultural Affairs to H.M. King Abdullah II was adopted. The first week of February is now observed as an official week and has seen hundreds of events each year in dozens of countries with up to 50,000 attendees at the events. The second annual week, held in February 2012, saw a large increase in gatherings. The third WIHW in 2013 saw the inauguration of the WIHW Prize ($50,000 in total) established by the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, three prizes were on offer for the best events held. Over 70 submissions were received by the judges, and the winners were announced as follows:
FIRST PRIZE: The Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna, Nigeria for their event ‘ Imam and Pastor from Vengeance to Forgiveness.’
SECOND PRIZE: Philippine Centre for Islam and Democracy and Noorus Salam and for their event ‘A Common Word Towards A Common Peace’.
THIRD PRIZE: Department of National Unity and Integration for their event ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week Malaysia 2013.’