Belgium’s New Stamp is a Perfect Picture of Religious Coexistence
Leaders of the European nation’s three largest faiths go postal for diversity and tolerance.
image via (cc) flickr user cr01
A Rabbi, a Bishop and an Imam walk into a post office… It may sound like the set up for a corny joke, but in one European country it’s the basis for a new initiative designed to showcase the importance of religious coexistence.
Starting in 2016, Rabbi Albert Guigui will be joined by Bishop Johan Bonny and Imam Khalid Benhaddou as the faces of diversity and coexistence on a new postage stamp put out by Belgian post office. Featuring an image taken by photographer Lieve Blancquaert, the stamp depicts Guigui, Bonny, and Benhaddou dressed in their respective faith’s traditional garb, embracing one another with hands clasped together before them. The words “Everybody equal, everybody different" are written across the bottom of the stamp.
image via BPost FR // Facebook
Rabbi Guigui tells The Times of Israel that he’d been approached to appear in the stamp this past November, saying:
“The stamp is meant to show that in Belgium, despite what is happening and what people hear in the news, there are good relations between faiths. The photo shows us holding hands, united and working together.”
“A stamp, which is something used in such a widespread manner, can get the message out to all people. What is needed is to bring the interfaith cooperation and dialogue down from the level of the religious leaders to that of the everyday people.”
Belgium is a predominantly Catholic nation, but contains sizeable Muslim and Jewish communities, as well.
The stamp will reportedly be available to the public in late October of this coming year. It will joined by a series of stamps featuring members of the Belgian royal family, and another series celebrating the upcoming Olympic, and Paralympic games.