Muslim, Christian, Jew

“If we don’t walk down this path of dialogue, we’re going to end up in conflagration.”

These words were spoken in New York today by Mary Ellen McNish, general secretary of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization. Quaker and Mennonite organizations took part in organizing the third public appearance of Iranian President Amadinejad in New York today, a meeting between religious leaders and the Muslim President of the Islamic Republic held in a small chapel across the street from the United Nations building. The meeting was not announced beforehand because of the furor surrounding Amadinejad’s first two appearances, at Columbia University and the United Nations.

The Iranian President took questions from a panel that included a Baptist, a Catholic, a Quaker, an Anglican and a member of the interfaith World Council of Churches. There was no representative of Judaism at the meeting, though the council announced they had pressed hard to find a Jewish representative. Unfortunately, everyone they asked refused, for the reason that they could not generate enough support from the Jewish community.

But these words echo in my mind: “If we don’t walk down this path of dialogue, we’re going to end up in conflagration.”

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