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An Interfaith Declaration for Peace

January 15, 2009

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 depriva tion 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 a20just 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: [Institutions are listed for identification only.]

  • 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 Al Jabri (president, MAS Boston-ISBCC; trustee, Interreligious Center for Public Life (ICPL))
  • Rev. Jim Antal (president, Massachusetts conference of the United Church of Christ)
  • Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal (past president, Islamic Council of New England and Islamic Center of Boston/Wayland; trustee, ICPL)
  • Rabbi Albert S. Axelrad (chair, Center for Spiritual Life, Emerson College; Hillel director emeritus, Brandeis University)
  • Diane Balser (executive director, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom)
  • Dorothy C. Buck (director, Badaliya)
  • Rev. Nick Carter (president, Andover Newton Theological School)
  • Dris Djermoun (president, Islamic Center of Boston)
  • Diana L. Eck (professor of comparative religion, Harvard University)
  • Imam Talal Eid (founder, Islamic Institute of Boston; chaplain, Brandeis University)
  • Ashraf Elkerm (board chairman, Islamic Center of Greater Worcester)
  • Rev. Terasa G. Cooley (district executive, Massachusetts Bay District of Unitarian Universalist Churches)
  • Mercedes S. Evans (Committee on Contemporary Spiritual & Public Concerns, St. Paul Catholic Church/Cambridge)
  • Imam Abdullah Faruuq (Mosque for the Praising of Allah/Boston)
  • 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 (president emeritus, Hebrew College; founding director, the National Center for Jewish Policy Studies)
  • Rabbi Arthur Green (rector, Hebrew College's Rabbinical School)
  • Rev. Raymond G. Helmick (instructor in conflict resolution, Boston College)
  • Arnold Hiatt (philanthropist; former chairman, Stride Rite Corporation)
  • 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 (attorney; former president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston)
  • Imam Taalib Mahdee (Masjid Al-Quran/Boston)
  • Rev. Bert Marshall (New England director, Church World Service)
  • Jerome D. Maryon (president, Committee on Contemporary Spiritual & Public Concerns, St. Paul Catholic Church/Cambridge)
  • Michael J. Moran (Pax Christi Massachusetts)
  • Sister Jane Morrissey (Pax Christi Massachusetts)
  • Merrie Najimy (president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Massachusetts)
  • Imam Khalid Nasr (Islamic Center of New England/Quincy)
  • Imam Basyouni Nehela (Islamic Society of Boston/Cambridge)
  • Rashid Noor (president, Islamic Center of New England/Quincy)
  • Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow (director of religious and chaplaincy services; Hebrew SeniorLife)
  • Rabbi Barbara Penzner (Temple Hillel B'nai Torah/West Roxbury)
  • Rev. Rodney L. Petersen (executive director, Boston Theological Institute)
  • Dr. Asif Rizvi (president-elect, Islamic Council of New England)
  • Rabbi Victor Reinstein (Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue/Jamaica Plain)
  • 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 (pas tor, Trinity Baptist Church/Arlington)
  • Adam Seligman (professor of religion, Boston University)
  • Rabbi Sanford Seltzer (chair, ICPL)
  • Enid Shapiro (trustee, ICPL)
  • Bishop M. Thomas Shaw (Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts)
  • Alan Solomont (philanthropist; chairman, Solomont Bailis Ventures)
  • Rabbi Toba Spitzer (Congregation Dorshei Tzedek/Newton)
  • Rev. John K. Stendahl (pastor, Lutheran Church of the Newtons)
  • Sidney Topol (philanthropist; former chairman, Scientific Atlanta)
  • Rabbi Andrew Vogel (Temple Sinai/Brookline)
  • Bishop Peter D. Weaver (New England conference of the United Methodist Church) 
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