DOMESTIC INTERFAITH SUMMIT, Chicago, Illinois, April 30, 2003

Domestic Interfaith Summit, Chicago, IL, April 30, 2003

Words of Reflection

We are thankful for the end of large-scale hostilities, the end of an oppressive regime, and the safe return of our troops.

We acknowledge the many sacrifices, and mourn all the loss of life.

We call for a national day of prayer and reflection, with a special emphasis on interfaith gatherings.

We further call on the president to distance himself from religious leaders who demonize the faiths of others.

We are compelled to call people’s attention to the continuing suffering of the `Iraqi people which demands large-scale international humanitarian relief.

Our religious traditions require that when we exercise power we reflect deeply on the consequences of our actions and the true source of peace and security.  In this
spirit, we encourage local religious communities to organize interfaith days of fasting, prayer, and dialogue, which will raise, among other vital concerns, those addressed in the accompanying, “Urgent Call For Reflection, Hope and Action,” and to commit themselves to donations for humanitarian relief for the people of Iraq.



As people of faith and leaders of diverse religious communities, we recognize that we are at a moment of choice even more urgent than before the war in Iraq began. We are faced with choices between hope and courage or fear and violence; between a future characterized by global solidarity, international cooperation and multilateral action or one characterized by unilateralism and wars by choice rather than necessity; continuing terrorism; unfettered efforts to extend U.S. power, and the exploitation of fear.

Let us not forget who we are as people of faith. We need to go deeper into our religious traditions. Fear is part of the human condition and is only addressed through faith. We are challenged now to trust in God and recognize the source of true security. Our
traditions teach us to envision a world of peace with justice. They promise God’s capacity to transform a broken world and God’s expectation that we are partners in the process.

As many Americans celebrate a moment of military victory, we, as people of faith, ask all people to make this a time of deliberate reflection.

As we have since 9/11 and the beginning of the war on terrorism: we call for greater understanding; we seek to dispel ignorance; we ask that this be a time of humility not arrogance; and, we hope that all can be mindful of what we have lost. We are mindful that while a repressive regime has beendestroyed, a country has been left in a power vacuum. We know as well that those people experience their daily life as one of enormous needs and insecurity.

War is a blunt instrument, which provides no lasting solution but too often leads to further violence. We ask the American people to reflect now on the price of unilateralism:

?  The cost of war and militarism

?  The human toll of the war in Iraq

?  The erosion of civil liberties in the United States

In order to reflect most effectively on the choices that we face we call on

interfaith leaders in every American community to gather in town meetings, teach-ins and other forms of community reflection to explore what kind of society we seek to become.

Drawing on all of our traditions that are rooted in justice, compassion and peace, we say to the present leadership of the United States:

1.  draw back from the use and threat of first strike war

2.  draw back from unilateral U.S. control over the reconstruction of Iraq

3.  bring the U.S. occupation of Iraq to a prompt end by transferring to the United Nations and multilateral, non-governmental organizations the authority to work with the Iraqi people toward its own reconstruction

4.  make available U.S. resources as part of a world effort to serve the needs and decisions of the Iraqi people.

Finally, we call on our fellow religious leaders throughout the world to join in convening an INTERNATIONAL INTERFAITH SUMMIT that will provide a worldwide forum for religious
leaders to meet and discuss in depth ways to eliminate the rhetoric of hate and to end violence perpetrated in the name of religion. Together we must work to find ways to
embody the power of love, compassion and justice in this fragile and interdependent world. We live in HOPE!

Participants in the gathering included:

Dr. Aslam Abdullah

Mr. Muhammad Nur Abdullah
President, Islamic Society of North America

Rev. Patty Ackerman
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Dr. Scott Alexander
Director, Catholic-Muslim Studies
Catholic Theological Union

Ms. Lama Almoazen
Illiana Islamic Association

Very Rev. Mourice Amsih
Syrian Orthodox Church

Commissioner Ken Baillie
Territorial Commander
The Salvation Army

Dr. John Borelli
Associate Director
Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Mr. John Briscoe
Director of Development
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA

Rev. John Buehrens
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell
Department of Religious
Chautauqua Institution

Mr. Eli Chamoun
Syrian Orthodox Church

Sr. Joan Chatfield, MM
Director, Research, Education, and Planning
Maryknoll Sisters International

Rev. Rothangliani Chhangte
Ecumenical Coordinator
American Baptist Churches in the USA

Rev. Seung K. Choi
General Secretary
Lorean Presbyterian Church in America

Ms. Pat Clark
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Rev. Dr. Keith Clements
General Secretary
Conference of European Churches

Very Rev. Nicholas Dahdal
St. George Orthodox Church of Cicero

Fr. Stan De Boe
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA

Rev. Charles Emery
Chair, Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious
Northern Illinois Conference - UMC

Bishop Jon Enslin
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Bp. C. Christopher Epting
Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations
The Episcopal Church

Mr. Trevor FitzGibbon
Sr. Account Executive
Fenton Communications

Mr. Dennis Frado
Director, Lutheran Office for World Community
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. C. Welton Gaddy
President, The Interfaith Alliance

Rev. S. George
Vicar;, Chicago Mar Thoma Church

Dr. Inam Haq
Adjunct Professor of Islam
Benedictine University

Mr. Syed Haque
Wiseman Systems, Inc.

Ms. Judith Hertz
Chairperson, Inter-Religious Affairs
Union of American Hebrew Congregations

Rev. Dr. Edgar L. Hiestand, Jr.
Ecumenical/Interreligious Officer
Northern Illinois Conference - UMC

Mr. Shamshad Husain

Ms. Elenie Huszagh, Esq.
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA

Mr. Chuck Hutchcraft
Chicago Area Coordinator
American Friends Service Committee

Mr. Kareem M. Irfan
Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago Area
Muslim Americans

Rabbi Steven Jacobs
Temple Kol Tikvah

Thomas H. Jeavons
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of

Mr. Kudama Kuwan
Life for Relief and Development

Dr. Nazir Khaja
Islamic Information Services

Mr. Antonios Kireopoulos
Executive Director
United States Conference of Religions for Peace

Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky, Ecumenical Officer
Orthodox Church in America

Mr. Tarek Kudaimi
Illiana Islamic Association

Rabbi Michael Lerner
Tikkun Magazine

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
The Shefa Fund

Rev. Michael Livingston
Executive Director
International Council of Community Churches

Dr. Janice Love

Ms. Jackie Lynn
Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Rev. Dr. Victor Makari
Coordinator, Office for Middle East and Europe
Presbyterian Church USA

Ms. Vicki Manning, STAFF
Executive Assistant
Office of the General Secretary
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA

Rev. John McCullough
Executive Director
Church World Service

Ms. Reatha McCutcheon
General Secretary
Friends United Meeting

Dr. Shakir Moiduddin, Chair, Interfaith Committee
Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago

Imam A. Malik Mujahid
Muslim Community Center
Chicago, IL

Rev. John Paarlberg
Social Witness and Worship
Reformed Church in America

Rev. John Pawlikowski
Catholic-Jewish Studies Program
Catholic Theological Union

Rev. Tyrone Pitts
General Secretary
Progressive National Baptist Church, Inc.

Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana
Vice President
Alliance of Baptists

Rev. David Radcliffe
Director, Denominational Peace Witness
Church of the Brethren

Rabbi David Saperstein
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Rev Dave Schwinghamer, MM
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Dr. Muzammil Siddiqu

Mr. P. J. Simmons
Special Advisor
US Policy and Global Issues
Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Ms. Arunima Sinha
Hindu Community of South Carolina

Rev. William Sinkford
Unitarian Universalist Association

Ms. Jean Stokan
Policy Director
Pax Christi, USA

Mrs. Rafia Syeed
Chairperson, bridginbg the gapo

Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Syeed
Secretary General
Islamic Society of North America

Ms. Oscar Tatosian
Diocesan Council
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America

Rev. John Thomas
United Church of Christ

Ms. Leslie Tune

Mr. M. Imtaiaz Uddin

Dr. William Vendley
Secretary General
World Conference on Religion & Peace—International

Mother Christine Vladimiroff, OSB
Abbess, Benedictines of Erie

Rabbi Arthur Waskow
The Shalom Center

Rabbi Zari Weiss
Seattle, WA.

Rev. Robina Winbush
Ecumenical Officer
Presbyterian Church USA

Bishop McKinley Young
Presiding Prelate
10th Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Church