Celebrating Religious Diversity During World Interfaith Harmony Week

“It is very important that different religions get involved with each other, so in the future we can avoid cases of racism from any side. Play for Peace activities, like the ones we are experiencing, can help avoid misunderstandings because of differences.” —Maroun, Play for Peace training workshop participant

A young Christian who lives in Nazareth, Israel, Maroun participated in a Play for Peace leadership training with youth leaders from different religions last year. Like in Israel, Play for Peace clubs around the world promote dialogue and cooperation between people from different religions. Cooperative games allow them to form deep connections and friendships, demonstrating how peace can happen in communities with religious diversity.

Since 2011, the world has celebrated interfaith harmony during the first week of February each year. The observance's origin lies in the work of the A Common Word initiative, which encourages Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in dialogue. As a result of the initiative, H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan proposed a World Interfaith Harmony Week to the U.N. Assembly, and the motion was adopted unanimously.

World Interfaith Harmony Week promotes peace and harmony between all people regardless of faith, and a culture of non-violence, interreligious and intercultural understanding, and cooperation.

At Play for Peace, we work year round to create friendships across cultural, religious, and ethnic divides. While we are not a religious organization, we celebrate and support World Interfaith Harmony Week with our partners, because we cherish the religious diversity that exists within the Play for Peace community. Many of our trainers, mentors, and youth leaders draw strength from their spiritual beliefs during their engagement in peace building activities.

As peace builders, we recognize that conflict often exists between different religious groups. Through Play for Peace methods, youth leaders around the world can bring together children from different religious backgrounds and create safe spaces for them to learn about each other, find commonalities, and appreciate their differences.

During World Interfaith Harmony Week, our Play for Peace clubs are organizing special activities around interreligious dialogue and cooperation, and many members of our community are offering a peace prayer in their native language.

Make sure to join us for a Facebook Live event on Thursday, February 7, at 10am CT for our peace celebration in honor of Word Interfaith Harmony Week.