Americans prepare to fast, work and pray for peace in Iraq

By staff writers
7 Oct 2007

Tens of thousands of people from a variety of religious traditions across the United States are preparing to fast on Monday 8 October 2007, as part of an initiative to pray and work for peace in Iraq. Non-religious persons will also join them.

Many will also remember the anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, and calls for an end to the bombing there.

At a recent news conference, religious leaders speaking n behalf of faith bodies and congregations with millions of adherents called upon all people of good will to join them - not just religious believers.

"We must return to the ancient disciplines so that we will turn away from violence toward reverence," said Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center, Philadelphia.

Represented at the news conference were leaders of Muslim, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Unitarian, and Baptist traditions. The Rev Dr Shanta Premawardhana, National Council of Churches USA associate general secretary for interfaith relations, organized the press conference.

Dr Sayeed Syeed from the Islamic Society of North America declared: "When you are fasting for Ramadan, you are enhancing your sense of compassion. We will be asking mosques to open their doors to people of other faiths around the world on October 8 for prayer and dialogue."

Local religious groups have been registering events at http://www.interfaithfast.org, a website managed by the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Further comment on the practice of fasting and its meaning here: http://faithinsociety.blogspot.com

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