WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK 2015.
Our Guest of Honor Hon. Sulaiman Madada; Minister of State for Labor,Gender and the elderly.
Special Guests, Grandma Miriyonsi Naigaga (85yrs) and your dear sister Gladys (87yrs).
Our Keynote Speaker, Rev. Dr. Medad Birungi
Faith Leaders at all levels, The Mayor KTC, Distinguished Guests, Senior Citizens.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
We are gathered here at the special initiative of Global Citizens International, a not for profit organization registered in Uganda as a company limited by guarantee.
Every year, for the past four years, and at our own cost as a family and friends, we convene this assembly in honor of what we believe is a great vision of the UN which we wholly associate with - the World Interfaith Harmony week, which is this year, 2015, being observed for the 5th year as a World Wide agenda.
We convene to affirm as believers, a single ancestry (Adam) and therefore a single brotherhood for the entire human race. As believers, we convene also to affirm our common faith as children of Abraham, the father of all who believe. We also convene to affirm our faith in one God , one overriding commandment to love (both God and Man); and therefore to be mindful of the needs of others in everything we think, say or do.
Accordingly, we meet to remind each other of not only our right to live peacefully as brothers, but that our destiny is also tied together. We’ll swim or sink, together. The context here is our ever expanding yearning for what has become an elusive peace.
The question we’ll ask every time we meet is whether, indeed, we could have missed a step in our zealous pursuit of the peace. We are asking and will continue doing so; Why are secular societies increasingly more in harmony than us who claim to be thoroughly religious? Our grandfather in faith, Abraham who lived four thousand years ago in present day Iraq, was commissioned to three main ends: not be tribal; achieve greatness; be a blessing to all the families on earth. Read it in Genesis 12:1-3.
In this particular session, we are supposed to have a closer look at what has come to be known as the Golden Rule; and to ask the question: In light of what all faith founders taught: “Is it the FOUNDERS of religions or their FOLLOWERS who miss the proverbial STEP” – hence the never ending conflicts, especially and regrettably, by people of faith.
The logic here is that we should establish the culture of dialogue while still in peace, like we are today, rather than attempting one, after the peace is lost like it is in many places across the globe.
This year’s program has been adjusted to move away from just sitting to eat and talk, important as that may be, to ensuring that at least 70% of our budget goes to some of the most needy families we have in our midst. Going forward, this will remain the practice. We believe our God will be even more happier with us for this shift, instead of just eating and making merry as people like these suffer.
And at this juncture let me take the opportunity to introduce the first beneficially of this shift, Grandma Miriyonsi Naigaga (85yrs) who lost both her sons and has a load of many grandchildren she cares for, while she herself needs much more care for herself which she cannot meet. She is accompanied here by her equally more needy elder sister Gladys (87yrs) who is blind in both eyes. These two as you can see, give our calling to be a blessing to all families, a fitting challenge on World Interfaith day such as this one. I therefore want to thank most heartily all faith leaders who adhered to our call to visit grandma this week. Shame on you, if you heard and were able, but didn’t. We have here people who have travelled 200 kms to support our cause. They are a fitting lesson for us all.
Guest of honor sir, today we are requesting you to launch a mini fund-raising drive to complete the work which you have just witnessed for yourself. We completed the roofing yesterday, but more needs to be done. And more important than grandma’s house, to launch a new spirit that should hopefully, continue to drive people of faith in Kayunga , Uganda and the world for many years to come.
As Global Citizens family, we thank those who participated for the moral and other support we’ve got in this effort especially by the Chairman Kayunga Inter-religious Committee, Rev. Moses Munakukaama , Sheik Semambo Muhammad, LC 1 community at Kyambogo where grandma lives, our local Journalists Association under their president Prince Charles Jjuko, our MP Hon. Amos Lugoloobi, the mayor and a number of others. Thank you so much.
SPECIAL REQUEST :
We request the government of Uganda and all Local govt’s to fully embrace World Interfaith Harmony Week, and appropriate budget allocations to be included accordingly.
We also request that deliberate effort be made to embrace the Golden rule in our educational curriculum so that our children can differentiate between true and false religions themselves. Freedom of worship, we believe, should go hand in hand with responsible teaching. There isn’t a single faith that taught followers to steal, lie, cheat and murder. Our Parliament could help include this in our laws.
We further request that Kayunga District and Kayunga Town Council, in particular, be the first to name at least a street/plot/or space as a memorial for World Interfaith Harmony to act as a constant reminder to us all, that we need to heed the call for interfaith harmony. Globally, there are places where such a call is almost too late. We warn you, Religion gone bad can be a real nightmare. In Abraham’s Iraq, fellow believers have been given four options: Convert, pay(bigger) taxes, Leave or die! Our brothers in Islam tell us that is not the Prophet's teaching. That should be your food for thought, especially if you are a leader.
Finally, many people keep asking me, what does Global Citizens mean? Let me answer: It is simply an affirmation that each of us belong, HERE!!! Except for non believers, there isn’t a single foreigner anywhere. The Golden Rule, Sikhs translation, makes this even clearer. Get one here today, it is free.
If you know God and you know Adam and have knowingly embraced the commission of Abraham, the above assertion should be a matter of course. We are members together with everyone. Period.
As I conclude, I invite you to appreciate the following as a part and parcel of the reason we are celebrating today.
1. HM King Abdalla of Jordan, who moved the motion for World Interfaith Harmony Week, 2010. Before then, he worked so hard with so many theologians across faiths to arrive at that historic fit. You are all encouraged to read what has become known as the A common Word.
2. Our very own President Yoweri K. Museveni, who, through Hon. Sam Kutesa, his minister for foreign affairs, is therefore the current president of United Nations. We have this dream, This is Africa’s hour to be a blessing to the world, once again. If you remember the original history.
3. The LC 1 Secretary for Kyambogo, Gwakire Micheal and his dear wife Irene Gwakire (SDA) for their wonderful cooperation since we conceived the Miriyonsi Project, moreover at short notice.
4. Ibrahim Wandera who said, for the good gesture extended to her grandma, he was ready to build the house even if alone, and without any pay. I am eternally grateful for those words.
5. The Interfaith committee that vetted this year’s candidate for our token help. Bruno (RC), Ojiambo Ben Moses (RC) and Christine Nabirye (Anglican).
6. The over-all organizing Committee for this function for which I was the cordinator: Rev. Moses Munakukaama , Siira Lutaaya, Prince Charles Jjuko, Sheik Semambo Muhammad, Christine Nabirye, Odiambo Ben Moses, Olive Nahabwe, Denis Odhiambo, Pr. Stephen Mukungu, Racheal Kisaakye, Pr. Moses Wagaba, Mr George Sembogo, Ester Apio Natukunda and Priscillar Alinda
7. Our Patron, Hon. Sulaiman Madada, who handled most Kampala related matters for today.
8. The Board, staff and Management of Global Citizens who met 70% of the budget.
9. PEPSI Uganda (CBL), for the Tents, seats and the drink that we have enjoyed.
Lastly, we realized that due to short notice, many of you were unable to donate or come for the work at Kyambogo. I therefore take this opportunity to invite our guest of honor to launch the mini-fundraising for the completion of the house and bore-hole, meters away from her house.
Thank you so much and God bless you.
Joseph R. Nahabwe.
7th February, 2015. Kayunga, Uganda.
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