One year after he launched a soul-stirring cry for help for the people of Syria via a song called Silent Words, British singer Sami Yusuf is back at it. This time, the United Nation’s World Food Programme celebrity ambassador is promoting what he calls the world’s first interfaith anthem, a song called The Gift of Love, to mark the World Interfaith Harmony Week this week.
Proposed by King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2010 and later adopted by the UN, the first week of February is now observed every year as the World Interfaith Harmony Week. Yusuf’s song and video was released on Monday to promote the event, and hopefully start a movement.
“I cannot stress enough the importance and timeliness of this project,” says Yusuf, who makes no profit from the song. “With what’s going on with the world, all these horrible things that’s happening, it’s a monumental opportunity for me to relay my humble message of unity and peace and love.”
Yusuf was approached by a member of the Jordanian royal family, who he prefers to only refer as “a very private and humble person”, to write the song and film the video. He and his team spent two weeks in Jordan filming the video across various locations, including Petra, the baptism site of Jesus, Wadi Rum and at the Holy sites in Occupied Jerusalem.
“I got to fulfil my dreams. Because for the first time I get to put the core of my message and essence of my humble works in an anthem. It was amazing,” he says.
“If you boil all the religions down, it’s really the love of good and love of [one’s] neighbour that they all emphasise. And that’s the message we’re trying to spread.”
Yusuf, who launched his fifth studio album, The Centre, in September last year, is currently working on two “big budget” Hollywood films, and a film with Oscar-winning Indian composer A.R. Rahman. On a brief visit to the UAE, where he has a home in Sharjah, he will soon set out on a European tour to promote The Centre.
The Gift of Love is part of a ‘crowdspeaking’ campaign that lets people rally together to spread a message, in this case to mark World Interfaith Harmony Week.
“This project is beyond any individual. It’s purely out of love. There was no financial incentive,” says Yusuf. “The only goal that we have is to get this to go viral.”
To add your voice to the campaign, go to thunderclap.it and look for ‘The World Interfaith Anthem’.