Congo Republic issues stamp for World Religion Day

31 January 2007

The Congo Republic this month became the second country to issue a postage stamp for World Religion Day, an annual event commemorated in dozens of cities and towns around the globe.

The stamp was presented here on 20 January 2007 at a World Religion Day program that drew more than 250 participants from eight religious communities. Agents were on hand to sell both the stamps and first-day covers.

World Religion Day was first celebrated in 1950, when the national governing body of the Baha'i Faith in the United States established it to call attention to the essential oneness of the world's religions and to show that religion is the motivating force for world unity.

The day is celebrated with interfaith discussions, conferences and other events that foster understanding among the followers of all religions. World Religion Day, which always falls on the third Sunday in January, is traditionally commemorated a day early in Brazzaville.

The new stamp from the Congo pictures a globe surrounded by the symbols of 11 religions. Across the top it says, in French, "God is the source of all religions."

Sri Lanka issued a World Religion Day stamp in 1985 that pictured symbols of eight religions.

In 1999, Singapore issued a postage stamp that listed the names of nine major religions along with the words "Unity in Diversity" and a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Inter-Religious Organization of Singapore. The release of the stamp coincided with World Religion Day, although it did not actually carry those words.

In Entebbe, Uganda, organizers of the World Religion Day commemoration there announced that they had requested their national postal service to issue a stamp for the occasion next year.

At their celebration this year, hosted by the Entebbe Municipal Council, participating religious leaders signed a declaration to form the Entebbe Inter-Faith Coalition. The signers pledged to use "the unifying power of religion to instill in the hearts and minds of all people of faith the fundamental facts and spiritual standards that have been laid down by our Creator to bring them together as members of one family."

Communities across Canada and the United States also held observances for this year's World Religion Day, as did Hong Kong and towns in Australia, Bulgaria, France, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and a number of other countries.

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