The Multifaith Advisory Group (advises the Minister for Multicultural Affairs in Victoria) engages with the 2021 Observance of United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week with a statement on Unity in Diversity, along with a video from the Faith Community leaders of Victoria.
Unity in Diversity
We are one human family on a tiny planet in an incomprehensibly vast universe of divine creation.
We live between the mysteries of birth and death for a relatively short time in a vast and magnificent universe. More than ever before, our lives are inter-connected and depend on each other.
In this context, World Interfaith Harmony is needed to cultivate and nurture compassion, understanding and unity amongst diverse cultures and beliefs in our global world, local communities, families and within ourselves.
World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan and was unanimously adopted at the UN General Assembly in 2010. It is observed annually from 1-7 February and is based on two fundamental principles, ‘Love of God and Love of the Neighbour’ or ‘Love of the Good, and Love of the Neighbour’. This formula includes all people of goodwill, those of other faiths, and those with no faith.
World Interfaith Harmony Week invites us to imagine our one human family living in peace, guided into vibrant and creative harmony by people of faith who are completely honouring the deepest truths of their faith tradition.
It aims to overcome the harsh reality of disappointing sentiments which continue to fan hate and fear out of ignorance or in pursuit of imagined forms of supremacy.
The necessity for unifying leaders who encourage compassionate cooperation has been evident through the pandemic. We see the same necessity in relation to preventing climate change, supporting human rights, working against economic disparity, promoting mental health and condemning all forms of violence including domestic and family violence.
Here in Victoria we are blessed with a high quality of harmony between faith leaders. A peaceful culture based on dialogue and trust-building initiatives has evolved through a willingness to trust each other, as we have addressed complex issues together.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week gives us an opportunity to celebrate this achievement and to draw more people into embracing this as our common future.
We can glimpse how beautiful Victoria can be as a completely harmonious State of Compassion. We can see how much our world needs such places of inspiration.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week in February gives us an opportunity to renew our commitment.
The time has come for unity in diversity. We are all different but can remain unified even with our differences.
Unity in Diversity videos
2020 presented faith communities with unique challenges due to the COVID19 pandemic. Highlighting the increasing need to work together in unity and the interconnected nature of the global and local community.
In collaboration with C31, VMC has filmed two videos asking representatives from the VMC’s Multifaith Advisory Group (MAG) how COVID19 affected their communities, and how they assisted others struggling with issues including mental health, support to women, youth, children and vulnerable groups, emergency food relief and virtual gatherings and celebrations.
The videos showcase unity in diversity where faiths focus on the commonalities and unity of all faiths, within their diversity.
Video 2 coming soon
Multifaith Advisory Group representatives
The Multifaith Advisory Group currently comprises of representatives from the following organisations:
- All Nations Presbyterian Church of Australia Mulgrave
- AMAFHH Federation – Shi’a Organisation
- Australian Intercultural Society
- Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights
- Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
- Baha’i Community of Victoria
- Benevolence Australia
- Board of Imams Victoria
- Rabbinical Council of Victoria
- Buddhist Council of Victoria
- Catholic Social Services Victoria
- Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne
- Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria
- Faith Communities Council of Victoria
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
- Hindu Council of Australia (Vic)
- Hindu Society of Victoria
- Islamic Council of Victoria
- Jewish Community Council of Victoria
- Lutheran Church of Australia
- Presbyterian Church of Victoria
- Rabbinical Council of Victoria
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
- Russian Orthodox Church
- Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria
- The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
- Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
- Victorian Council of Churches
- Victorian Multicultural Commission