Interfaith Leaders to Urge Greater U.S. Involvement in Mideast Peace Efforts in Meeting with Sec’y Rice

January 29, 2007

Source: Catholic Online

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) – A delegation of Catholic, other Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders is scheduled to meet Jan 29 with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to urge increased Bush administration engagement in working toward achieving long-term peace in the Middle East.

The State Department meeting follows up with a December call by 35 interfaith leaders for a face-to-face meeting to outline “elements of a way forward” and to make Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace in the Middle East an urgent foreign policy priority with a two-state solution as its centerpiece.

Among those who will attend the meeting include: Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington; Bishop Mark Hanson, presiding bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop, Episcopal Church; Rev. Leighton Ford, president, Leighton Ford Ministries; Rabbi Paul Menitoff, executive vice president emeritus, Central Conference of American Rabbis; Rabbi Amy Small, past president, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association; Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, national director, Islamic Society of North America; and, Imam Yahya Hendi, chaplain, Georgetown University here.

In the strongly worded, 2,500-word statement dated Dec. 12 and released Dec. 14, the leaders of national religious bodies, compelled by “our shared Abrahamic faith,” said the United States has “an inescapable responsibility and an indispensable role to provide creative, determined leadership for building a just peace for all in the Middle East.”

The leaders, in an accompanying letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, called for a meeting to express their support for renewed action by the Bush administration.