[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders in Ireland have pledged to work together to promote peace and deepen understanding in the Holy Land. Some 17 leaders of the three Abrahamic faiths across the island of Ireland also pleaded for an end to violence and loss of life in the Middle East. They did so after hearing from the Anglican Episcopal Archbishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, whose diocese includes Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.
Archbishop Suheil met the faith leaders at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Justice this week as part of a week-long visit to Jerusalem’s companion link united dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough. The Glencree centre works to transform violent conflict and build peace with a vision of a shared world, where all can live free from violence and conflicts are resolved peacefully; using the experiences of reconciliation on the island of Ireland to help people around the world transform their own violent conflicts.
In the declaration, the Irish faith leaders said they shared grief and pain at the death and suffering currently taking place in the Middle East, impacting dreadfully upon civilian populations and prayed for peace throughout the region.
“It is both the aspiration and the right of all people to live in freedom and security without fear,” they said. “People of all faiths are equally entitled to enjoy such things and yet each sees the other as denying that right to the other with a consequent spiral of violence.
“Our prayer and plea is for this spiral to be broken and safety and security to be restored to all with a new beginning established through a commitment to parity of esteem in both politics and society.”
The declaration was signed at an event attended by 60 religious, political and community leaders: Milestones on a Journey of Hope. “It recognised the ongoing suffering which continues to affect many parts of the Middle East, and offered an opportunity to explore and reflect with them on some of the experiences of Ireland’s journey out of violence into the hope of a brighter future,” a diocesan spokesperson said in a statement.
The declaration said: “Today together we send our collective message of hope for peace to our brothers and sisters in across the Middle East who yearn to live in freedom and peace. We join with them and all people of faith in the region: Jewish, Christian and Muslim, seeking a just and durable peace, rooted in reconciling love for all the people of the land that is called ‘holy’ by each of the Abrahamic faiths.”
Signatories to the declaration included representatives from the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Armenian churches as well as Islamic and Jewish leaders.