A flag-raising event to celebrate the United Nations’ World Interfaith Harmony week, which is organised by the Ballarat Interfaith Network (BIN), was held yesterday.
World Interfaith Harmony Week, first established in 2011, is traditionally celebrated in the first week of February.
It began after the United Nations endorsed a proposal from King Abdullah II of Jordan, which aimed to bring Christians and Muslims into closer dialogue. It now extends to encourage harmonious dialogue between people of all religions.
Ballarat Interfaith Network’s flag was raised in support of the world-wide message and intent of this special week – to call on all people to respect each other’s differences and personal beliefs.
The City of Ballarat and the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council (BRMC) partnered with BIN to celebrate this declaration of the need for interfaith respect and harmony.
The event also included members from the Islamic Society of Ballarat, the Baha’i faith, House of Welcome, Sisters of Mercy, Ballarat Hebrew Congregation, Ballarat ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ballarat Indian Association and representatives of Ballarat’s Anglican and Catholic churches.
In addition to the flag-raising ceremony, Ballarat Library will host an interfaith display from 2-9 February to showcase many of the main religions in Ballarat, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, the Baha’i faith, Hinduism and Sikhism.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh says it’s vital we create a community where people are free and at peace to practise their religion, without fear or any adverse consequences.
“Ballarat is an inclusive community. We welcome those of other faiths and those from other cultures,” she said.
“We will work together so everyone in our community knows that they are welcome, they are respected, safe and they are free to observe their faith.”