An Interfaith Declaration for Peace

An interfaith group of religious leaders in the Boston area have created a petition calling for a ceasefire and organized a silent peace vigil to end the crisis in Gaza and Israel.  Boston-area Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders desired to create a different kind of response than the rhetoric emerging on both “sides” of the conflict; instead of perpetuating these “two sides” the leaders have chosen to “stretch our hands out to each other” and “stand shoulder to shoulder” to make their declaration public, to end the violence and express their anguish for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.  The petition, calling for a ceasefire, has been signed by many faith leaders from Massachusetts.


AN INTERFAITH DECLARATION FOR PEACE

We, members and leaders of the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities in Greater Boston - all having deep and symbolic ties to the land and peoples of the Middle East - are anguished by the events unfolding in Israel and Gaza. Recognizing the legitimate needs of all peoples, including all those living in the Middle East, for dignity, peace, safety and security—regardless of religion, race, or national origin—we issue this joint statement with the hope and belief that our interfaith voices will be heard clearly, above the din of war.

As guiding principles,

We acknowledge the long, complex, and painful history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

We acknowledge the wide range of deeply-held beliefs, and intensely-felt narratives on all sides

We acknowledge that all sides are capable of assigning blame to others, and asserting justification for their cause

We observe that violence by any side begets more violence, hatred, and retaliation

We deplore any invocation of religion as a justification for violence against others, or the deprivation of the rights of others

We decry any use of inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes the other and is intended, or is likely, to promote hatred and disrespect

We believe the conflict can be resolved only through a political and diplomatic solution and not a military one.

In the face of many competing narratives, we recognize that the overriding common need of the peoples of the region is the prompt implementation of a just and lasting peace. Toward that end, and particularly in response to the current hostilities,

We call upon the United States and the international community immediately to intercede to help reestablish a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, toward the goal of a permanent cessation of hostilities

We call upon Hamas immediately to end all rocket attacks on Israel, and upon Israel immediately to end its military campaign in Gaza

We call for an immediate end to all strikes on civilian centers and citizens, both Israeli and Palestinian

We call for lifting of the blockade on Gaza as to all non-military goods, for an immediate and significant increase in humanitarian aid to address the needs of the people of Gaza, and for all parties involved to join in taking responsibility to address those human needs

We call on all parties involved in the conflict to work sincerely and vigorously toward a just and lasting peace that addresses and promotes the national aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples

We call on President-elect Obama to make clear that as President he will urgently assert US leadership to achieve a comprehensive diplomatic resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts

Through this joint statement we affirm our commitment to engage with one another, even, and especially, during times of great stress. We also affirm our common humanity and our common belief - as Jews, Muslims and Christians - that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must cease, that there is no military or violent solution, that all human life is valued, and that all parties must cooperate to make the peace - a just and lasting peace desperately needed and deserved by all the peoples of the region.

Signed:

Salwa Abd-Allah, Executive Council, Muslim American Society of Boston (MAS Boston), Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC)
Tariq Ali, President, Harvard Islamic Society
Hossam AlJabri, President, MAS Boston-ISBCC; Trustee, Interreligious Center for Public Life (ICPL)
Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, President, United Church of Christ Mass. Conference
Abdul Cader Asmal, Past President, Islamic Council of New England and Islamic Center of Boston; Trustee ICPL
Rabbi Al Axelrad, Hillel Director Emeritus, Brandeis University
Diane Balser, Executive Director, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom
Dorothy C. Buck, Ph.D., Director, Badaliya
Rev. Nick Carter, Ph.D., President, Andover Newton Theological School
Dris Djermoun, President, Islamic Center of Boston (Wayland)
Diana L. Eck, Professor, Harvard University
Imam Talal Eid, Islamic Institute of Boston; Chaplain Brandeis University
Ashraf Elkerm, Board Chairman, Islamic Center of Greater Worcester
Rev. Dr. Terasa G. Cooley, Unitarian Universalist Mass. Bay District Executive
Mercedes S. Evans, Esq., Committee on Contemporary Spiritual & Public Concerns (CSPC Committee)(Civil Rights)
Imam Abdullah Faruuq, Imam, Mosque for the Praising of Allah (Roxbury)
Michael Felsen, President, Boston Workmen’s Circle
Lisa Gallatin, Executive Director, Boston Workmen’s Circle
Zekeriyya Gemici, President, MIT Muslim Students Association
Rabbi David Gordis
Rabbi Arthur Green, Rector, Rabbinical School, Hebrew College, Newton
Rev. Raymond G. Helmick, S.J., Instructor, Conflict Resolution, Boston College
Arnold Hiatt
Rev. Jack Johnson, Executive Director, Massachusetts Council of Churches
M. Bilal Kaleem, Executive Director, MAS Boston-ISBCC
Anwar Kazmi, Executive Council, MAS Boston-ISBCC
Alexander Kern, Executive Director, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries
Nabeel Khudairi, Past President, Islamic Council of New England
Idit Klein, Executive Director, Keshet
Margie Klein, Co-director, Moishe/Kavod House
Mary Lahaj, Muslim Chaplain, Simmons College
Geoffrey Lewis
Imam Taalib Mahdee, Imam, Masjid Al-Quran, (Dorchester)
Rev. Bert Marshall, Church World Service, New England Director
Jerome D. Maryon, Esq., President, CSPC Committee
Michael J. Moran, Pax Christi Massachusetts
Sister Jane Morrissey, SSJ, Pax Christi Massachusetts
Merrie Najimy, President, American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee, MA
Imam Khalid Nasr, Imam, ICNE-Quincy
Imam Basyouni Nehela, Imam, Islamic Society of Boston
Rashid Noor, President, Islamic Center of New England
Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow
Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah
Rev. Rodney L. Petersen, Ph.D., Executive Director, Boston Theological Institute
Dr. Asif Rizvi, President-Elect, Islamic Council of New England
Rabbi Victor Reinstein, Nehar Shalom
Rev. Anne Robertson, Executive Director, Massachusetts Bible Society
Qasim Salimi, President, Boston University Muslim Students Association
Robert M. Sarly, Trustee, ICPL
Rev. Mikel E. Satcher, Ph.D., Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church
Professor Adam Seligman, Boston University
Rabbi Sanford Seltzer, Chair, ICPL
Enid Shapiro, Trustee, ICPL
Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, Episcopal Bishop, Diocese of Massachusetts
Alan Solomont
Rabbi Toba Spitzer, Congregation Dorshei Tzedek
Rev. John K. Stendahl, Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Newtons
Sidney Topol
Rabbi Andrew Vogel, Temple Sinai
Peter D. Weaver, Bishop, United Methodist Church, Boston Area
(Organizational affiliations for identification purposes only)

SIGN THE PETITION  Please sign and forward to others to sign.  And, please encourage local interfaith groups to do something like this in your area.

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