The KPU community celebrated the United Nation World Interfaith Harmony Week in the Surrey Cedar Conference Centre on Feb. 5 with food, activities, and conversation.
The week-long event was initially introduced by King Abdullah II of Jordan at the United Nations in 2010. He suggested its main objective was “to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence.”
Since then, the event has taken place during the first week of every February, “calling on governments, institutions, and civil society to observe it with various programs and initiatives that would promote the aim of the WIHW objectives.”
The conference centre had booths with diagrams, pamphlets, and pictures showcasing information about a diverse number of religions. Students walked from booth to booth, asking KPU’s chaplains about religion while enjoying some tasty treats and interactive activities.
Junaid Khan is the Muslim chaplain at the KPU Multi-Faith Centre. He says that, while his main job is to provide support to Muslim students at the university, he feels that his role is much more than that. Sharing values of love and support inspire him and drive his work on campus.
“With so many things happening around the world, we have a shared value within these religions. Sometimes just by breaking bread together and getting to interact with people face to face, a lot of [our] differences are not important,” he says. “We believe in love, compassion, and to help one another.”
Gerard Booy is the Christian chaplain at KPU. He says he loves bringing the Christian faith to the university.
“The biggest principle is the theme of love and acceptance … and God’s love for us,” he says.
“From that, we are inspired to love everyone else. It’s important for [different faiths] to work together.”
Inderjeet Singh is the Sikh chaplain at KPU. He says that we must take care of our physical and mental health in order to maintain a good relationship with faith.
“If you’re unhappy, faith doesn’t exist. Faith is something that [happens] when all your stars align,” says Singh.
Marty Shoemaker, the Humanist chaplain at KPU, introduced Interfaith Harmony Week to the Multi-Faith Centre six years ago. He says Humanism is more of a worldview than it is a religion, although it still adheres to the principles of acceptance and compassion for all beings.
Amna Hassoun, who is in her first year of studying sociology and political science at KPU, attended the Interfaith Harmony Week event.
“I wanted to see what this event was all about. It’s amazing. I learned a lot,” she says.
Sarah Khan is in her fourth year of studying health science. She is also part of the Muslim Student Association at KPU.
“It was interesting learning about Sikhism. We were all talking about our religions,” says Khan. “It helps you understand each other more. It’s bridging the gap between the differences.”