The Media Center of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement broke into shouts of jubilation early this week when an email came in informing Silsilah that it had won First Prize in the World Interfaith Harmony Week 2014. H.M King Abdullah II of Jordan sponsors the annual WIHW Prize.
The email was sent by Mr. Aftab Ahmed, Office Director of the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, and one of the judges for the contest. The web site of the WIHW says that “The prizes will be awarded to those events or texts that are judged to have been most successful in promoting interfaith harmony, and impacting religious understanding. “The United Nations Interfaith Harmony Partners of Zamboanga headed by the Silsilah Dialogue Movement has been spearheading the celebration of the WIHW in Zamboanga City since 2012. The annual celebration is in response to a UN General Assembly Resolution setting aside the first week of February of every year for various activities to promote interfaith harmony. Interfaith Harmony week promotes the use for dialogue among different faiths and religions and their contribution for peace in the world. It encourages the spread of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship. The celebration is based on the love of God and love of one’s neighbor according to their own religious traditions and convictions. The honor comes on the heels of a period of unstable peace and order in Zamboanga City especially the siege on September 9, 2013 by the MNLF Misuari faction which left the city with thousands of evacuees that continue to be a problem to the city government. This year’s events were largely planned by Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, Founder of Silsilah and implemented by the Silsilah Media Office in coordination and collaboration with groups that make up the UN Interfaith Harmony Partners-Zamboanga with the Silsilah secretariat headed by Professor Alih Aiyub. The prizes will be awarded in Amman, Jordan next month.