Mosque Hosts Interfaith Discussion On Gaza Crisis

January 12, 2009

Author: Aman Ali

Source: The Journal News

The local interfaith community came together yesterday to share perspectives on the crisis in the Gaza Strip.

"People really need to talk about this conflict," said Anees Shaikh, communications director for the Upper Westchester Muslim Society in Thornwood. "We see a need for people to say what they want to say in an environment that's unintimidating - where they can feel like they'll be heard and respected."

The society hosted a discussion at its mosque yesterday that welcomed Muslims, Christians and Jews to talk about the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

Though the conversations among the group of about 40 were engaging, the atmosphere in the room remained friendly and civil as members of each faith spoke afterward about what they had learned from the dialogue.

"We can all agree that to kill any innocent person, whether they be Israeli or Arab, is wrong," said Richard Laster, a resident of Chappaqua who attends Temple Beth El there.

Attendees broke off into smaller groups to discuss three editorials that ran in the Jan. 8 edition of The New York Times about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many participants said hearing about the conflict from members of other faiths was rewarding.