Perspectives

The Tent of Abraham, Hagar & Sarah:
A Multireligious call for Peacemaking


Rev. Bob Edgar of NCC, Dr Sayid M. Syeed,
Sr. Joan Chittister, R. Rachel Cowan, R. Elliot Dorff


November 21, 2004

We are members of the families of Abraham Muslims, Christians, Jews. Our traditions teach us to have compassion, seek justice, and pursue peace for all peoples. We bear especially deep concern for the region where Abraham grew and learned, taught and flourished. Today that region stretches from Iraq, where Abraham grew up, to Israel and Palestine, where he sojourned, and to Mecca and Egypt, where he visited.

Today our hearts are broken by the violence poured out upon the peoples of that broad region.

That violence has included terrorist attacks on and kidnappings of Americans, Israelis, Iraqis, Europeans, and others by various Palestinian and Iraqi groups and by Al Qaeda; the occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel and of Iraq by the United States; and the torture of prisoners by several different police forces, military forces, and governments in the region.

From our heartbreak at these destructive actions, we intend to open our hearts more fully to each other and to the suffering of all peoples.

In the name of the One God Whom we all serve and celebrate, we condemn all these forms of violence. To end the present wars and to take serious steps toward the peace that all our traditions demand of us, we call on governments and on the leaders of all religious and cultural communities to act.

We urge the US government to set a firm and speedy date for completing the safe return home from Iraq of all American soldiers and civilians under military contract.

We urge the UN to work directly with Iraqi political groupings to transfer power in Iraq to an elected government.

We urge the UN, the US, the European Union, and Russia to convene a comprehensive peace conference through which the governments of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Iran, and all Arab states conclude a full diplomatic, economic, and cultural peace with Israel and Palestine, defined approximately on the 1967 boundaries, with small mutual adjustments.

We urge the international community to work out lawful and effective means to deal with the dangers of international terrorism, the spread of nuclear and similar weapons, and conflicts over the control of oil and water.

We ourselves will act to create transnational and interfaith networks of Jews, Christians, and Muslims who will covenant together

        - to insist that governments take these steps,
        - to undertake whatever nonviolent actions are necessary to prevent more
          violence and achieve a just peace throughout the region,

        - and to grow grass-roots relationships that bind together those who have
          been enemies into a Compassionate Coalition.



We welcome all those who thirst and hunger for justice, peace, and dignity, to join in affirming this statement.

        - Sister Joan Chittister, OSB; Rev. Bob Edgar, National Council of Churches;
        - Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, Islamic Society of North America;
        - Imam Abdul Faisal Rauf, Imam Talib Abdur Rashid, Imam Mahdi Bray, Saadi
          Shakur/Neil Douglas-Klotz; Rabbis Elliot Dorff, Gerry Serotta, David Teutsch,
          Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Arthur Waskow, and Sheila Weinberg;



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