On April 25, 2013, ambassadors, diplomats, and religious leaders from around the world convened at the Baptismal Site of Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan for the First Annual World Interfaith Harmony Week competition. The competition, under the patronage of King Abdullah II of Jordan, is part of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week that started in 2011. Jordanian Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed, who was deputized for the event, presented the prizes to the winners.
All the judges were in attendance, including the Chairwoman of the Interfaith Harmony Week ceremony, Her Royal Highness Princess Areej Ghazi of Jordan; Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land; and Patriarch Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Bishop Munib Younan thanked the winners and all those who submitted applications for the competition for their steadfastness in the face of extremism and hate: “I always say that it is an art to live with others in peace and harmony, to equally share the country. All of you who achieve this are artists. You are the artists of harmony.”
First prize was accepted by Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye the Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna of Nigeria for their event “Imam & Pastor from Vengeance to Forgiveness,” a documentary on their journey from hate to reconciliation. Second prize was accepted by Dr. Santanina Tillah Rasul, Omuhani Mabandes, and Salma Rasul, Esq. for their interfaith dialogue event, “A Common Word Towards A Common Peace” put together by the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy. Third prize was awarded to the Department of National Unity and Integration in Malaysia for their ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week Malaysia 2013’ and was accepted by Dato’ Azman Amin bin Hassan, Rev. Dr. Thomas Philips, and Mr. Wan Burhan bin Wan Ismail.
To see photos of the event, visit the ELCJHL’s photo gallery.
To listen to Bishop Munib Younan’s speech, click here.
By: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land