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News :: Human Rights : International : Media : Organizing : War and Militarism
An Interfaith Declaration for Peace
15 Jan 2009
On Tuesday, January 13, around 300 members of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities gathered in the Boston Commons for a silent vigil calling for an end to the violence in Gaza. Boston-area religious leaders from all Abrahamic religions have jointly written a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The statement is posted in full below.

RELATED: Jewish Activists Shut Down Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles
Lockdown at Israeli Consulate in San Francisco
All photos by Marilyn Humphries.

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.


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, MCC

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)
See also:

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Creative Commons license.
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