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Interreligious Responses to War in Iraq

It is not the policy of this web site to advocate for or against political activities, even to the extent of warfare. Nevertheless, we would be remiss in not reporting on the varying interreligious responses to the war in Iraq. The articles listed here represent just a few of the interfaith/interreligious responses to the current global political turmoil and conflicts.

By Stephen Fuqua

One group you will not find responding here is the United Religions Initiative (URI). The URI is a grassroots organization wherein decisions are made at the most local level possible (cf Principle 13 of the URI Charter). Thus it is not for the URI staff or Global Council, including the Executive Director, to issue statements and decrees — it is for the individual organizations to hold their own opinions and activities, as long as they remain consistent with the Principles outlined in that Charter to which they have voluntarily signed on. If together they agree on some statement, then they may vote to do so (as happened at the 2002 Global Assembly with the “Call to Global Healing“).

Christian Groups' Iraq Aid Offer Draws Criticism
Two U.S.-based evangelical Christian groups are pledging to provide humanitarian aid to post-war Iraq, but critics on Friday feared that proselytizing by the groups could ignite Muslim concerns about invading Christian crusaders.

Global Interfaith Movement Calls on World to Pray and Fast For Peace: Nineveh 2003 Gains Momentum as Threat of War Mount
With the world on the brink of war, a global coalition of Catholics, Christians, Jews and Muslims — called Nineveh 2003 — has mobilized for 40 days of prayer and fasting. Set to coincide with Lent, the most solemn time in the Christian calendar, the movement for world peace is scheduled to run through April 13.

Heads of NCC, Two Muslim Groups Issue Joint Statement on Iraq
March 24, 2003 — The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, Secretary General of the Islamic Circle of North America and Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America today issued the following joint statement…

In this time of unrest. clergy calling for unity
For months, the threat of war with Iraq, with its religious and political overtones, divided the faith community. But now that war has begun, clergy say they won't let the volatile issue erode the bonds formed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when Muslims, Jews, Christians and others vowed to stand together in the face of hatred.

Pope: Iraq War Must Not Cause Hatred
March 24, 2003 — Pope John Paul II urged the faithful Saturday not to allow the Iraq conflict to stir up hatred between Christians and Muslims, saying that would transform the war into a “religious catastrophe.”

Prayers for peace, criticism of Bush at interfaith rally
The protesters who gathered on City Hall Plaza for the city's first interfaith antiwar march yesterday joined hands and prayed aloud to Jehovah, to Allah, to Jesus, and to Buddha for peace in Iraq. Then, in unison, they condemned the man they say is the real ultimate power behind the war: George W. Bush.

Religious leaders comment on Iraq war
As the war against Iraq commenced, religious groups and leaders around the world were unanimous in expressing sadness and appealing for prayers and reconciliation.

The Interfaith Alliance Responds to War Declarations
Minutes after President Bush announced that the nation had launched a war with Iraq, the leadership of The Interfaith Alliance and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation responded with regret and concern in a letter to the White House and a web feature displaying “Statements For a Nation At War” from national civic and religious leaders.

WCC statement on Iraq: “Wars cannot be won, only peace can”
March 20, 2003 — Reacting with “profound sorrow” to news that a military attack on Iraq has begun, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser has today released a statement calling the attack “immoral, illegal and ill-advised”.

World turmoil strains faith relations
Some Christians say Islam promotes violence. Jews feel they are being scapegoated by opponents of a U.S. war on Iraq. A Muslim leader wonders if there's a divine message in the breakup of the shuttle carrying an Israeli astronaut. In the post-9/11 era, religious leaders say, interfaith relations in America have been poisoned, causing damage it may take years to heal.

Editorial Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial staff, the United Religions Initiative, or other sponsors and partners. See the Editorial Policy for more details.

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