STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH MUSLIMS
In recent days terrorist threats against the Muslim Community in the “civilized” world have been on the rise. The unconscionable attack on the Muslims in New Zealand, though far away from us, affects us all. Now, sadly, the Islamic Center of Escondido was attacked by arsonists in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 24th accompanied by anti-Muslim graffiti on the walls of the mosque, and recent protests in El Cajon against Muslims by the Westboro Baptist church offend our Catholic faith and teachings. An attack against one faith group is an attack against us all. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego condemns the hateful attacks against our Muslim Brothers and Sisters and in the name of our Good and Gracious God we stand with them and promise them our prayerful and moral support.
This report is being presented as the Annual Report on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego covering the period from September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016.
(New York, NY June 26, 2014) On June 12 three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped while hitchhiking near the Gush Etzion settlement on the West Bank. Israel feared that the kidnapped teens would be taken to Gaza to meet the same fate of Gilad Shalit (the Israeli soldier held captive for five years by Hamas militants), or worse. Israel says it has proof that Hamas was behind the kidnapping, although the Palestinian leadership questioned what they called Israel’s “absence of [such] proof.”
After the kidnapping the Israeli Defense Forces began an extensive search operation to locate the teenagers, focusing on areas considered Hamas strongholds such as Hebron. In the course of this search, during which dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and molotov cocktails at Israeli forces, five Palestinians, including a teenager, were killed and more than 300 people were arrested. Hundreds of Palestinian homes were invaded and searched, thousands of people lost their permits to travel to Israel for work. At the same time, many Palestinians have praised and even celebrated the kidnapping as the best hope for securing the release of Palestinians in Israeli jails.
At this point Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East (“Fair Witness”) says “enough.” Far too much blood has been shed, far too much anger has been stoked, far too many lives have been wasted, far too much good will has been squandered.
Both Israel and Palestine are mourning their dead and missing children. These senseless tragedies will not end until the leadership of both of these people decide to be statesmen and leaders and say:
enough, we have shed enough blood, we have wounded each other and ourselves enough. This is where it stops.
“We beg you Messrs. Abbas and Netanyahu, to stop manufacturing excuses and get back to the negotiating table,” says Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College and Fair Witness Executive Committee member. “It is time for both sides of this conflict to concede that they each have historically legitimate but conflicting claims to the land and agree to share it by delineating a border, ending all claims, and allowing their children to live and grow in peace and prosperity.”
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June 17, 2014
WASHINGTON—Catholics and Shia Muslims oppose actions that endanger the life, health, dignity and welfare of others, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, according to a joint declaration signed by U.S. bishops and Iranian religious leaders. The June 14 declaration resulted from a dialogue between a delegation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Supreme Council of the Seminary Teachers of Qom, the preeminent center of religious scholarship in Iran, during a March 11-17 trip to Iran.
The dialogue sought to promote greater understanding and peace between Americans and Iranians. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ International Justice and Peace committee, led the U.S. delegation.
“As religious leaders, we condemn all forms of disrespect for the religious traditions of others,” said the joint declaration. “Just as importantly, we commit ourselves to active inter-religious dialogue that transcends governments and national boundaries and serves the common good of the whole human family.”
They added: “Shia Islam opposes and forbids the production, stockpiling, use and threat to use weapons of mass destruction. Catholicism is also working for a world without weapons of mass destruction and calls on all nations to rid themselves of these indiscriminate weapons.”
Signers of the declaration were Ayatollah Ali-Reza A’arafi, senior member of the Supreme Council of the Society of Qom Seminary Scholars and president of Al-Mustafa International University; Dr. Abdul-Majid Hakim-Elahi, director of the international affairs office of the Society of Qom Seminary Scholars; Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington; and Bishop Pates.
Full text of the join declaration follows:
June 14, 2014 —16 Sha‘bān 1435 AH
IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL
The belief in One God unites Jews, Christians and Muslims, and calls us to work for the common good of the whole human family. It is our conviction that human societies need moral guidance and that it is incumbent on us as religious leaders to share the ethical teachings that flow from our respective traditions.
Christianity and Islam cherish a common heritage that emphasizes, above all, love and respect for the life, dignity, and welfare of all members of the human community. We found this in our recent dialogue between Catholicism and Shia Islam. Both of our traditions reject as reprehensible all forms of transgression and injustice. We oppose any action that endangers the life, health, dignity, or welfare of others. Catholicism and Shia Islam hold a common commitment to peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.
These foundational moral values unite us in raising fundamental moral questions regarding weapons of mass destruction. Shia Islam opposes and forbids the production, stockpiling, use and threat to use weapons of mass destruction. Catholicism is also working for a world without weapons of mass destruction and calls on all nations to rid themselves of these indiscriminate weapons.
We call on all societies and persons to respect religion and its role in sharing moral guidance in the public square. As religious leaders, we condemn all forms of disrespect for the religious traditions of others. Just as importantly, we commit ourselves to active inter-religious dialogue that transcends governments and national boundaries and serves the common good of the whole human family. It is our mutual intention to engage in a sustained dialogue based on our shared values.
Keywords: joint declaration, Iran, United States, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Supreme Council of the Seminary Teachers of Qom, Catholicism, Shia Islam, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, International Justice and Peace, nuclear weapons, dialogue, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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