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World Interfaith Harmony Week | 03 February 2018

Sifco appeals for interfaith unity and good dialogue


The Seychelles Interfaith Council (Sifco) hosted an interfaith presentation on February 1 as part of its activities to mark World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW).

The presentation took place at the Seychelles Trading Company’s (STC) conference hall in the presence of Vice-President Vincent Meriton, members of the National Assembly, members of civil society, representatives and members of the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps), Sifco members, among other guests.

World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event observed during the first week of February since 2011.

WIHW was proclaimed by the General Assembly in a resolution adopted on October 20, 2010.

In the resolution, the General Assembly points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes WIHW as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.

Recognising the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, the General Assembly encourages all States to support during that week the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship, on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions.

The chairperson of Sifco, Bishop Denis Wiehe, stated that WIHW is based on two common fundamental religious commandments -- Love of God, and Love of the Neighbours.

“The WIHW provides a platform, one week in a year, when all interfaith groups world-wide and other groups of goodwill can reaffirm that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace. It is hoped that this initiative will provide a focal point from which all people of goodwill can recognise that the common values they hold far outweigh the difference they have, and thus provide a strong dosage of peace and harmony to their communities,” he said.

He added that the messages of Sifco have been well received since 2009.

“In general, the activities and messages of the Interfaith Council here in Seychelles since the beginning in 2009 have been well received. People are more agreeable to dialogue and acceptance of each other, rather than to disagreement and division, especially on religious grounds. However as we all know, interfaith dialogue is a difficult task and there is still much incomprehension and even intolerance among believers at grass-roots level in our society. Many historical reasons, world-wide and local, can be evoked to explain this,” he said.

The event also consisted of a presentation of 15 minutes each by four different faiths -- Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Bahai.

Each presentation was followed by questions and answers from the audience.

It is anticipated that these talks will be held every four months and cover all the faiths and religions represented on Sifco.

Sifco consists of members of different faith-based organisations striving for interfaith dialogue. As the ‘Moral & Spiritual’ voice of the Nation, Sifco’s objective is to promote understanding, cooperation and unity within the interfaith groups since they share the same core spiritual values -- peace, love, purity, harmony -- and the nation at large.

The current memberships of Sifco are the following: the Roman Catholic; Anglican Church; Baha’i Faith; Islamic Centre for Information and Guidance; Hindu Council of Seychelles; Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam; Orthodox Church; Zoroastrian Faith; Seychelles Buddhist Association; Brahma Kumaris Association; World of His grace Christian Mission; Redeemed Christian Church of God; Christian Fellowship.










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