World Interfaith Harmony Week is entering its fourth year of celebrations intended to highlight the importance and value of mutual understanding and cooperation between diverse religious communities around the world. Proposed in response to the Muslim-Christian dialogue effort known as "A Common Word," World Interfaith Harmony Week was set by a declaration of the United Nations in 2010 to be observed each year during the first week of February.
This year, the Tri-Cities Interfaith Council in Fremont is planning to hold their first World Interfaith Harmony Week celebration on Saturday, February 1, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Fremont Veterans Memorial Building in Niles, located at 37154 2nd St. in Fremont. Lead organizer Moina Shaiq is a member of the Alameda County Human Relations Commission and sees this gathering as an opportunity to further mutual respect for one another and "to build bridges of understanding, respect, and support among people of diverse faith."
Representatives of several different faith traditions are expected to create booths and displays that enable them to share about their beliefs, traditions, and sacred objects. Participants will include Atheiest, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist individuals and more. An hour-long moderated discussion among faith leaders is planned to educate the community at large.
According to Rev. Jeremy D. Nickel, minister at Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Church in Fremont, “Fremont is an incredible community, and a big part of what makes it so special is its diversity. With more languages spoken in the homes than in any other city in the world, we are truly living the American dream." As co-organizer of the event, Nickel hopes the event will "bring all of our traditions together to look for common understandings and shared values. The differences we find can also be exciting and educational if we approach them non-judgmentally.”
Additional information about the World Interfaith Harmony Week, including calendars of events around the world, resources and study materials, and news reports, can be found at worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com/