Calling for Interfaith Action in the Middle East

By Jim Wallis 02-26-2009

While at Yale last weekend, I had the opportunity to eat breakfast with a bright group of young students. One of the topics we touched on was interfaith dialogue. Their interest went beyond a desire to just talk with other people or make grand symbolic gestures -- they were interested in what could be accomplished. Interfaith dialogue is great; interfaith action is better.

The Community of Religious Leaders at the World Economic Forum released a statement calling for interfaith action in the Middle East. For centuries now a geo-political conflict has been perpetuated in the draping of a religious one. We don't need to wait to begin interfaith action to bring healing to the Middle East. It was not long ago that it seemed progress in Northern Ireland would be forever a dream and today it is a reality. Without leadership from the faith community, progress toward peace and stability in the Middle East is impossible. With it, we might be closer to that dream than we think.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf provides insightful commentary on the statement:

CALL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

The Community of Religious Leaders associated with the World Economic Forum, committed to justice, dignity and mutual respect for all, expresses its deep distress at the pain of innocents suffering everywhere.

In particular, the land that is holy to the Abrahamic religions has recently seen great death and destruction. While this conflict is a territorial conflict, all too often religion has been exploited and made part of the problem.

Therefore, the Community believes passionately that religion must be part of the solution. Indeed, no solution will be possible without such engagement.

Accordingly, the Community of Religious Leaders calls on the political leadership to engage the religious representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths

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