The Shmooze

Interfaith Environmental Forum Connects Jews, Christians, Muslims

By Nathan Jeffay

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There was a rare show of unity between Jews, Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem this week, as leaders of the three faiths came together to promote a cause that affects them all — the environment.

They spoke at the Interfaith Environmental Forum in Jerusalem, asserting the imperative in their religions to halt environmental damage and advance sustainable living.

The panelists were Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Deputy Minister of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Religious Affairs Haj Salah Zuheika, and American Jewish Committee International Director of Inter-religious Affairs Rabbi David Rosen.

“The main religions should study ecological issues together because we have a common destiny,” said Shomali. “We need to put all of our energies together to solve the environmental crisis, which is ethical, moral, and spiritual.”

Rosen said that “responsibility to future generations” is “a cardinal tenet of our respective religious heritages.” Haj Zuheika echoed his opinion, and gave examples of passages in the Koran that promote environmental awareness.

But it wasn’t just an event of statements — the leaders also launched the new Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, which they hope will give practical expression to their beliefs.


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