The 10th Harmony Games held on Saturday saw nearly 500 participants from mosque madrasahs, schools, youth and religious leaders from 10 major faiths, with focus on 'Unity in Diversity: Blessings to Humanity' as the main focus this year. The event was held at Beatty Secondary School.
The event is an annual community effort to strengthen close ties among Singaporeans of different religions, which is unique to Singapore, where different faith communities come together to celebrate diversity through games. This year's event focused on the theme 'Unity in Diversity, Blessings to Humanity'.
Several team-based games such as Futsal, Frisbee, Captain's Ball and Wii Just Dance Tetris. Apart from the games, an interactive programme titled 'In Conversation: Let's Be Honest' was featured with representatives from the Sikh, Jainism and Baha'i faiths, sharing little known facts about their faiths.
An interactive sharing of opinions among interfaith youth leaders titled 'Tell me your Stories: Helping, Healing and Caring' gave participants to gain deeper insights and experiences of the different faiths as practiced in Singapore, said a statement.
Singapore Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu, who opened the Games, said the gathering of so many Singaporeans, from different ages, races and beliefs, at one place brings forth the unity of Singaporeans. She also took part in a Declaration of Religious Harmony to cement religious diversity and harmony at the end of the event.
Head of Harmony Centre, Ustaz Mohamed Ali Atan thanked the participants from different faiths and described it as a sign of the spirit of youth leaders from various faiths who had stepped up to organise this Games. He was confident that the bonds forged at the Games will provide more opportunities to bring even more diverse groups together, to continue to build on the trust and understanding with one another.
Sister Theresa Seow, Member of Inter-Religious Organisation and Vice-Chairperson Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said that inter-religious harmony requires constant effort and the Harmony Games will pave the way to accomplish it. She stressed that these community bonds are integral to avert conflicts and crises. Sisiter Theresa has also called on the youth "to step forward and bolster interfaith dialogue to the next level."
Next year's Harmony Games will be organised collectively by friends from the Buddhist, Baha'i, Jewish and Zoroastrian faiths. The Harmony Centre was first held in 2006 and opened by the Prime Minister of Singapore as a key initiative of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore's (Muis). So far, 56,804 participated in the initiative.