In reality all are members of one human family — children of one Heavenly Father. Humanity may be likened unto the vari-colored flowers of one garden. There is unity in diversity. Each sets off and enhances the other’s beauty. – Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, pp. 25-26.
In October, members of Norway’s Baha’i community attended a special gathering hosted by the King and Queen of Norway.
Up to 90 representatives from diverse religious organizations were invited to the royal palace in Oslo as part of efforts to promote greater inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue and understanding.
In his opening remarks, King Harald of Norway expressed his desire to contribute to the unity of the country, whose population is diversifying rapidly.
“When the Queen and I travel in our country we experience the diversity of cultures and religions very closely: by food, culture, through conversations with people who have roots from other parts of the world,” King Harald of Norway told those present, which included members of Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities.
“Then we reflect: This is Norway. This is Norway anno 2015. And just that is so exciting: The Norwegian identity—the manifold peoples who are now Norwegians—is in constant change. We need solidarity. This is important to remember, especially in these days.”
In her speech, Queen Sonja of Norway stressed the importance of the joint efforts of religious organizations in promoting unity.
“This event, initiated by the royal family in cooperation with the Interfaith Council, is a unique event and as such represents a model for dialogue for the rest of society,” said Arne Kittang, one of the representatives of Norway’s Baha’i community, who attended the event.
The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. We cherish the hope that the light of justice may shine upon the world and sanctify it from tyranny. If the rulers and kings of the earth, the symbols of the power of God, exalted be His glory, arise and resolve to dedicate themselves to whatever will promote the highest interests of the whole of humanity, the reign of justice will assuredly be established amongst the children of men, and the effulgence of its light will envelop the whole earth… Take heed, O concourse of the rulers of the world! There is no force on earth that can equal in its conquering power the force of justice and wisdom…. Blessed is the king who marcheth with the ensign of wisdom unfurled before him, and the battalions of justice massed in his rear. He verily is the ornament that adorneth the brow of peace and the countenance of security. There can be no doubt whatever that if the day star of justice, which the clouds of tyranny have obscured, were to shed its light upon men, the face of the earth would be completely transformed. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 218-219.