Mabda Report 18/06/12

Phillipines House passes bill declaring 1st Week of February as World Interfaith Harmony Week

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill declaring every first week of February of each year as World Interfaith Harmony Week.

House Bill 6148 authored by Reps. Maria Isabelle Climaco (1st District, Zamboanga City) and Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan) seeks to carry out the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in all places of worship worldwide based upon the foundational teachings of love of God and neighbor in accordance with religious traditions and practices.

Promoting inter-faith harmony in the humblest way

Peshawar-based advocate Khurshid Khan thinks of himself as a “fundamental Muslim”. And he is proud to be one who has polished shoes, swept floors and washed crockery at worship places of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, from Peshawar to the Indian Punjab. His aim? To promote interfaith harmony and bridge the gap between the people of Pakistan and India, and to tell the world that Muslims, and Pakhtuns, are peace-loving people who are not terrorists.

When sixty-two year old Khan, who represents the federal government at the Peshawar High Court as Deputy to the Attorney General of Pakistan, recently visited several cities in India, the chief minister of in East Punjab Parkash Singh Badal received him as a state guest. Khan visited worship places of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim communities in Chandigarh, Jaipur, Delhi, Amritsar and other cities to convey a special message of love to the people of India from the Muslim and Pakhtun community of Khyber Pakhtunkha.

Muslim and Jewish students debate Islamophobia and anti-Semitism

When I told people that I wanted to organise a speech competition for youth on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the most common reaction I received was, “That would be hard.” However in late April 2012, 16 students from Muslim and Jewish schools, as well as public schools, in Toronto came together at the North American Muslim Foundation to participate in the 10th occasion of this annual event.

Despite some initial discouragement, I felt the connections between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia were important. These two issues are often dealt with separately by Muslim and Jewish communities in Canada, but both groups have a great deal to offer each other as they work to overcome prejudice.