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2013 Edinburgh Inter-Faith Peace Event

UfP's 10th Edinburgh summer Inter-Faith Peace Event (June 27 2013) on 'Reflection and Action for Peace', with Baha'i, Brahma Kumaris, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Theosophical, Quaker, Unification and Unitarian representatives, was deemed 'vitally important' by UfP Churches & Inter-Faith Secretary Rev. Brian Cooper: "It shows different faiths can come together to affirm peace and challenge faith communities to be more involved in peace issues." Framed by prayers and meditations from the various traditions, and after statements by Brian Larkin of Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre on its work for conflict resolution, non-violence and human rights, and Theosophical Society President Mike Hall on major faiths' common concern for peace for people, society, global humanity and nature, Middle East and Israel/Palestine came to the fore.

Surveying history, Rev.B.Cooper stressed European Jewry's terrible experience in the Holocaust had intensified its drive for a homeland in Palestine, but Israel's 1948 foundation in violent circumstances rendered it 'The Catastrophe - El Nakhba' for the Palestinians. Israel's failure to make lasting settlement with Yasser Arafat, a secular Muslim, and Israeli pro-peace premier Yitzak Rabin's murder by a Zionist extremist, had been followed by the rise of uncompromising forces on both sides. Israel's 'security wall' against Hamas attacks caused the Palestinians economic and social disruption, while continuing expropriation of their lands for illegal settlements greatly impeded any effective 'peace process'. Phil Lucas (Quaker) described his experiences with World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme, monitoring Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied West Bank. Harassment and long delays at military checkpoints which Palestinians had to pass for their daily work, justified by Israel for security, caused "great bitterness and resentment": visuals of cage-like checkpoints and Palestinian villages razed for illegal settlements, deeply disturbed many in the audience. Rev. B. Cooper hoped to hold a 'Christian-Jewish' dialogue on these issues. In a Muslim contribution, 13-year-old Zakariya Islam stressed "peace and peacemaking in Islamic tradition are essential for human development...peace is advocated as a divine quality to be pursued." Terrorism and suicide bombing had no justification in Islamic theology.

Rev Brain Cooper UfP Churches & Inter-Faith Secretary

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