October 20, 2012 By Yahya Hendi

The Story of Abraham: A Journey of Hope for All

In the name of Allah Most Merciful Most Compassionate

Delivered at the College of St. Elizabeth in on July 19 th, 2003

First of all, let me offer my Gratitude to the Almighty One for His divine grace having brought us all here today. Let me also ask for His blessings upon all of His prophets and messengers and also seek his guidance for all of those who stand out firmly for God.

Honorable Sister. Francis Rafter, president of the college of St. Elizabeth, Reverend Anthony Ciorra, director of the Center for Theological and spiritual development, and all those who made this gathering possible. Thanks very much. This is indeed, a great occasion and, indeed, a blessed one. Let me congratulate you all for a job well done.

Honorable colleagues! Your eminence cardinal Walter Kasper and Rabbi Terry Bookman. It is just a moment of great joy to be your co-panelist speaking on “Children of Abraham: journeys to God”

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming.

Nothing brings joy to my heart like speaking about the life and legacy of Abraham. Abraham’s story, which continued to shape the lives of Billions throughout tens of centuries, deserves to be studied, imitated and learned from. The Reconstructionist inclusivist teachings of Abraham will always be the source of guidance to those who seek to journey on the path to God. Abraham’s life stations made him the only human being worthy of the title the “friend of God” according to Muslims. A journey like Abraham’s is, indeed, the true and real road map to peace and security around the world.

My lecture shall cover the following subjects: first, the importance of Abraham in Islam and for Muslims; second, the stations in Abraham’s journey to God; and thirdly, the impact of this legacy on the global peace today.

Islam is not believed by Muslims to be a new religion; rather, it is the same religion Abraham and other prophets and earlier scriptures called their followers to.

“Indeed, I God have revealed to you Muhammad as I have revealed to Noah and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the descendants of Israel.” Q 4:163

Islam is named after neither a person nor a place. It is named after the very message Abraham lived to teach. Abraham taught us by word and practices how to achieve peace by surrendering ourselves to the very Creator. If the word “Islam” means peace by surrendering to God then Islam is not a new religion. This in essence suggests that Muhammad very much like Moses and Jesus had God at the center of their teachings. It also suggests that their main message was not different or must not be seen as different. The Qur’an argues that what matters is not whether we are called this or that but that we live the legacy of Abraham.

“…. Say O Muhammad: “….., but we follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward surrendering to the One who is all truth.” say O believers: “ we believe in God and what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, and the descendants of Israel and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we surrender to Him in Islam.” 2:135-136

The above verse summarizes the Islamic teachings concerning God’s messengers, that all of them were equally chosen, guided and granted revelation by their lord, and that what each of them brought was the true, original religion, to which God gives the name “Islam” or peace by surrendering to the will of God. It is what Abraham presented his people with.

Muhammad was commanded by God to order his followers, the Muslims, to follow the faith of Abraham who was a Muslim by being devoutly obedient to God’s will.

This high position of Abraham was obtained because of the purity and sincerity of his relationship with his beloved Lord, to whom he totally surrendered his will, Therefor, became a good Muslim. Thus, God says:

”Who would be averse to the faith of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself? And I chose him in this world, and indeed, in the hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his lord said to him, “surrender!” He said, “I have surrendered to the lord of the worlds.” 2:130-131

The word “Hanif” which occurs again and again in the Qur’an means inclining toward the truth with pure faith, keeping to the straight, correct God-centered monotheistic religion and avoiding all objects of worship other that God Most high. Thus God tells Muslims “Jews and Christians were -also- not commanded but to worship God, being sincere to him in the religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayers and to give charity.” 98:5

“And, O Muhammad, direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth, and do not be among the polytheists; and do not invoke, apart from god, that which neither benefits you nor harms you.” 10:105-106

This pure, sound religion corresponds to the original nature, constitution, disposition and innate character with which God who is the originator created each thing in existence, including mankind, according to His words. “Then set your face toward the religion, inclining to truth, the God-given nature with which he endowed mankind. No change shall there be in God’s creation.”

From this we can understand that the human being’s connection to the Creator pertains to the inherent, unchangeable nature with which every soul comes into the world. It is this nature that causes a child to be intuitively open to God and to the pure religion unless its mind has been bent in some other direction by the influences surrounding it.

Abraham was singled out as a prototype and exemplar of the path of belief and worship of God, the lord of exalted divine attributes, in His absolute uniqueness and endless glory, not associating any partenrters with him nor ascribing to Him any of the attributes of any of His created beings.

This pure faith was the religion of all the true monotheists prior to Islam that is, of the prophets and their communities. It is the religion of absolute uncompromising belief in God the exalted as the only lord, and of sincerity to him in worship and all the affairs of life, according to God’s instructions to His last prophet: “Say O “Muhammad! Indeed, my Lord has guided me to a straight Path, a correct religion: the faith of Abraham, inclining toward truth, and he was not a among the polytheists.” Q 6:161

One of the most impressive indications of Abraham’s high rank is the fact that God chose him to be His close friend. Because Abraham was so close and so dear to him, God granted him very special honors and divine favors, amongst which are the following:

Abraham ranks among the five greatest prophets according to the Qur’an.
God made him one of the greatest religious figures due to the depth of his faith.
God answered Abraham’s prayer: “God! Grant me sound judgment and join me with the righteous, and grant me a mention of honor among later generations.” 26:83-84. Thus it is for this reason that all-monotheistic religion, Judaism Christianity and Islam, all deeply revere Abraham, mentioning his name with respect and invoking God’s blessings upon him. In particular, Muslims throughout the world, mention Abraham’s name with the highest honor each time they complete any of their five daily prayers, following the instructions of the prophet Muhammad.
God answered Abraham’s prayer for a son from among the righteous by granting him Isaac as well as Ishmael.
God answered his prayer regarding sending a prophet from Arabia who would call peoples top purity and righteousness. Prophet Muhammad happened to be the answer of Abraham’s prayer.
God ordained that Muslims recall Abraham and important event in his life during the rites of the major pilgrimage Hajj. Connected with this is also the commemoration of Abraham’s sacrifice Of his son during the festival of sacrifice, ‘Eidul adha.
Those honors granted to Abraham shaped his journey and road map to peace. Let us now wonder through some of the stations in this inspiring journey.

Abraham was born in a pagan society with social life built on a rigid class structure. Within its classes: the class of the priests, state and military officials, merchants, farmers and slaves. There were many practices from officials, which led to different forms of oppression and slavery. All forms of evil flourished: bribery, usury, lying, cheating, sexual immorality, injustices, these evils were encouraged by the officials and the religious institutions. Taxes collected in the name of God by rich state officials with the excuse that it was collected to serve the almost five thousand gods whose shrines occupied huge lands, gardens and buildings.

As he looked at the things around him, Abraham with his pure nature of one whose soundness of mind has been uncontaminated by his environment, said: “these things must have a Lord.”

Indeed, it seems that, at a time of life when other children are occupied with childish pursuits, Abraham had already come to his own conclusions about the idols his people worshiped. It is also possible that, impelled by an urgent passion for truth, he had already begun to discuss and debate the matter with his father. The Qur’anic narrative suggests that in an early stage in his spiritual development, he said to his father: “Do you take idols as Gods” I consider you and your people to be in clear error” 6:74

He said: “O my people! I am clear of whatever you associate with God. I have surly turned my being toward the one who created the heavens and the earth as one, inclining toward the truth, and I am not among the polytheists.“ 6:78-79

“Thus, did God show Abraham the realm of the heavens and the earth, that he might be among the certain.” 6:75.

Abraham did not watch injustices and growing sense of oppression and keep silent. He dialogued with his people against their practices and their beliefs. Politely he said: “what do you worship?”

“We worship idols and remains devoted to them”

“Do they hear you when you call, or do they benefit you or do you harm?

“No, but we found our fathers doing so.”

“Then do you see what you have been worshiping, you and your fathers?”

He made his position clear to them saying: “indeed, they are all enemies to me, except the lord of the worlds, who created me. And it is he who guides me, and who gives me food and drink. And when I am ill, it is he who cures me, and who will cause me to die and then bring me to life again and who will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense.” 26:75-82

For Abraham activism without prayer is like body without soul. He prayed to God: ”My Lord! Grant me authority and join me with the righteous and grant me a mention of honor amongst later generations, and make me among the inheritors of the garden of bliss.” 26:83-85

Abraham urged his people to
“Worship God and be mindful of Him. This is best for you, if you but knew. In place of God, you worship mere idols and you fabricate falsehood. Indeed, those whom you worship besides God do not have power to provide for you. So seek provision from God and worship Him and be thankful to Him. To Him you will be returned. And if you deny the message, nations have denied before you. And the duty of the messenger is only clear communication of the message” 29:16-18

When it is easy for every one to give in to peer pressure, Abraham did not “And how should I fear what you associate with God. When you do not fear that which you associate with God? Then which group has more right to security, if you should know?” 6:81

Activism requires some more unshakable determination and action. Abraham went to the house of the gods, which was in a great hall, opposite the entrance to the hall was a great idol, and at his side a smaller one, and next to him a smaller one, and so on down to the entrance to the hall. The people had prepared food and placed it before the gods. Observing the food in front of the idols, he mocked them by saying: “Do you not eat?” As no answer came back, he said: “what is the matter with you that you do not speak? 37:91-92. He then he with all of his strength hacked at them with an axe.

Then he made them into fragments, except the big one. Later, when the people came to take their food, they found their idols smashed and broken. Wondering who might have done that, one among them pointed to Abraham.

Intelligence was collected, security officers were asked to bring Abraham for interrogation. Abraham said: “Well! Ask the biggest of them, if they are able to speak?” 21:63 Abraham words hit home. The unbelievers now turned back to themselves in confusion and embarrassment, unable to find words with which to reply to him. Yet they collected their bride and said: “But you know that they do not speak. He replied: “Do you worship that which you yourselves carve,” Abraham demanded, “while God created you and whatever you do? And he hammered home his point, saying, “Do you worship, beside god, that which neither benefits you in the least not harms you? Shame on you and on what you worship instead of God! Will you not then use reason?” 21:66-67

For them the road to peace in the society was not consultation and dialogue. No one should be allowed to challenge already existing practices. The response of his people was only that they said: “kill him or burn him!” (29:24). The language of love was not known but to Abraham. For many he was either with them or against them. Things were either black or white. They had the military might and the economic power already to ask for him to be burned in support if their gods.

As they threw him into the fire, the Lord of all creation and the One who gave the fire the capacity to burn ordered the fire to be a place of coolness and peace for Abraham. Abraham guarded by his beloved Lord endured this awesome trial, in safety and peace and total satisfaction with Him. Thus with God’s grace, Abraham emerged from the fire safe and unharmed.

Finally, he just had to let go of his tribe and leave elsewhere where he could be free enough to worship God. He journeyed with Sarah for years and finally God delivered him to the Land God blessed for all mankind. He settled in Palestine with his wife for many years.

At old age Abraham and his wife wanted a child, yet no child was born. And eventually at Sarah’s suggestion, Abraham married Hagar, perhaps in the hope that she would be able to bear him a successor. Abraham prayed to God to grant him a child and make him from among the righteous and in response the most high gave Abraham the good tidings of a son, informing him, even before that son’s birth, that he would be a forbearing boy. Hagar the younger wife became the mother of the son, Ishmael.

Later Abraham took his wife Hagar and son and left to Arabia only by the command of God and not for the presumed jealousy of Sarah. The Qur’an indicates that “when Abraham was tried by his Lord through words of command and he carried them out” 2:124 These words or command in turn constituted that part of the divine plan, which embraces all things visible and hidden, material and spiritual, which Abraham had been destined to carry out. Within this plan, all things are so inseparably interwoven that each depends on whatever precedes and follows and surrounds it. Thus, while we may be able to discern something of the obvious reasons, material causes, or external factors at work in Abraham’s story, at the same time, unseen, secret causes were like wise at work, as will become clear from what follows.

Mecca became the place were Abraham took his wife and son Ishmael. It was a place where nothing grows naturally except the most meager sorts of desert plants. There is very little rainfall, and when the wind blows, the sky is overcast with haze, the air full of swirling dust. And it was at this inhospitable, terrifying lonely and uninhabited spot, with no shelter but an overspreading tree, and no source of water that God commanded Abraham to leave his wife and long-desired infant son.

But appearances may often mask realities. This was the same spot to which Adam had come thousands of years earlier and upon which God Most high has set down His scared House. It was the place where Abraham in years to come construct the Holy Ka’bah, a place of sacred pilgrimage, around which the city of Mecca would arise. It was the place where many centuries later Prophet Muhammad would be born and pass the first 53 years of his life.

Who can imagine what Abraham, the tenderhearted and forbearing, must have felt at separating from his wife as Ishmael had been born to him so late in life and was, at that time, his only son. And Hagar was no less his wife than Sarah, no doubt he loved her as any man would love his wife, But God’s command had come to him, and Abraham did not will otherwise than as his lord willed. Moreover, he possessed unshakable certainty of the rightness and perfection of whatever God willed. He again let go of something very important to him.

As Hagar asked him if that was God’s plan, he replied with “Yes”. She then said: “Then we will not perish.” How amazingly steadfast Hagar’s faith was! Her accepting Abraham’s decisions without protest makes it clear that she had absolute confidence both in the rightness of God’s decree and in her husband’s faith. Here Abraham prayed again:

“Our Lord, I have settled some of my offspring in a valley without vegetation near Your Sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish Prayers” 14:37

As Abraham left, Hagar searched for water and walked between safa and marwa hoping she would find something. She came back to check on her son to see Gabriel digging the sand till water gushed forth. Hagar’s story teaches us that God Almighty can do anything, for to the Creator of all things in existence, the possessor of all command and control, nothing whatever is impossible. He is able to create something out of nothing, to keep his servant safe in the midst of the deadliest dangers, and to provide for their needs under any and every condition. This is, indeed, a miracle, for from under the dry, totally barren soil of Mecca, where rain seldom falls, the water of that spring has been flowing ever since it first began to pour forth for Ishmael.

Many years later, God would command Abraham to put up the building for the worship of God on earth exactly where Adam many years earlier had come. This becomes the Ka’bah, the sacred house of Mecca around which Muslims perform the rites of hajj. Abraham asked God to make this a place for the worship of God alone. Later he asked God to send from amongst the descendants of Ishmael a messenger who will recite to them God’s verses, and teach the people the scripture and wisdom and purify them. God was to answer His friend’s prayer for the security of Mecca.

Some time before that God sent down angels to give Abraham good tidings of Isaac, a prophet from among the righteous, and a blessed one. Abraham foretold Sarah about her pregnancy of Isaac from whose offspring God will bless the world with Jacob. Sarah was surprised yet believing in God’s wisdom showed her happiness.

The Qur’an speaks this promise.

“I granted Abraham Isaac and Jacob, I guided each of them. I made each upright, and I made them leaders, guiding by My Command. And I inspired the doing of good deeds and the establishment of prayers and giving of charity.

Some time along the way, Abraham’s faith was tested again, Abraham saw in his vision that he had been ordered to sacrifice his son, who had come to him at an advanced age. Abraham approached his son so that he also would surrender to God’s will. Abraham asked: “My son! Indeed, I have seen in a vision that I am sacrificing you, so see what you think” 37:102 so the answer of his son was: “O my father, do what you are commanded. You will find me, God willing, patient.” 37:102

The son’s words make it clear that he did not question the meaning of what his father had seen or seek to find a way out for himself. Young as he was, he was trained in a faithful household to have perfect obedience first to God and secondly to his father, a prophet with a tremendous spiritual stature. Abraham again had to let go everything for God’s glory.

Then when they both surrendered and had put him down on his forehead, God Most high called to Abraham:

“O Abraham, you have fulfilled the vision. Thus, do I surely reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was a clear trial. And I ransomed him with a great sacrifice, and I left this invocation for him among the later generations: “Peace be upon Abraham!” Thus do I reward the doers of good. Indeed, he was among My believing servants.”

Qur’an 37:105-111.

The angel of death who came to seize his soul having concluded his journey on this earth visited years later Abraham. Abraham has passed to us a legacy described of a strong leader, wise man, pure spirited person, loving husband, kind father and polite son.

Regardless of all the pain he suffered and the difficulties he endured, he continued the path to God. He always had absolute faith that God will not give up on his devotees. “Indeed, my lord is with me and he will guide me” 37:99

Abraham teaches us in the 21 century that the pressures of technology, the peer pressures of sociopolitical challenges are but ways to test one’s faith in God. One’s commitment to values cannot change with weather and cannot be shaped by circumstances.

For Abraham the road map to peace had certain ingredients:

The belief that God is one as we read in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear O Israel! The lord out God. The lord is one.” And in the Qur’an: “Say God is one the eternal.”
Believing in God is the source of Peace and security as we read in Matthew 17:20 “Truly I say to you if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will move this mountains”
Keeping God’s laws as is with no change or bending: And now, Israel, what does the lord your god require of you, but to fear the lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments.
To let go -for the Glory of God- things we may hold dear.
If we want to keep the law! And if we desire to please the lord! And if we long to His peace and blessings!!!

Then why is it that the world continues to have an increasing number of wars?

Why is it that more have been killed in the last 100 years in wars and on borders between countries where God is supposedly worshiped?

Why is it that we have more hungry people around the world?

Why has God become a real state agent whose name is used to advocate violence around the worlds and to claim that God promised this or that land to this or that group?

Almost every day, we wake up with the sad news coming to us from the Middle East. We hear either of a home destroyed in or around Jerusalem or a child or a woman killed. The Land once inhabited or witnessed by Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad has turned into a sea of blood. The city of Jerusalem for whose peace all the prophets of God prayed has become a place were bombs go off or come down to kill and spread fear, and is a place where agendas are worked out to occupy lands or harm others. The Land made Holy for all the people by the Divine has become a center for militarism, racism and wars most of which happens in the name of the one believed by all three Abrahamic traditions to be The All-Peaceful God. It is about time that God’s name gets disassociated from all that which undermines His Compassionate Glory and violates His Loving Majesty. Jews, Christians and Muslims are called upon to reintroduce their faiths to the Middle East in a way that does not condone violence and in a way that promotes peace.

Nothings saddens me like seeing that the Holy land torn into pieces in the name of God, liberation, statehood or security!

One cycle of violence after another cycle of violence in a land God wanted to be holy and a place where peace can be built. On both sides ignorance and fear are still creating hostile images with violence and bloodshed. We are in the 21 st century yet the memories of ancient tribal wars, the Crusades, inquisitions, holocaust, colonialism and American civil wars did not prevent us from the terror of the tragedy of Sept 11 th attacks. Isn’t this the very proof of human beings failure and ignorance? This failure to make peace with God, their very Creator, and with their fellow humans is the result of ignorance of the self and of other.

In Judaism, the word shalom is derived from the word shalem, which means complete, fullness and perfection; therefore peace in Judaism means perfection and completion. Perfections of three levels of relationships to which one aspires: between man and himself, between man and his fellowman and between the nation of Israel and all other nations. Numerous halakhic regulations and laws have been enacted to promote peace between Jews and non-Jews. The well-known verse, Isaiah 11:6, about the lion lying in peace with the lamb is the hope that all nations, strong and weak, will be able to live together in peace.

Jews must aspire to bring peace to the lives of Palestinian Christians and Muslims as much as they like it for themselves. Rabbi Yose said: let the property of your fellow man be as precious to you as your own. A man came before Rabbi Rava and said to him, “the ruler of my city ordered me, ‘Go and slay So an so. If you do not, I will slay you.’ ” Rava replied, “Let yourself be slain rather than slay. What makes you think your blood is redder than his? Perhaps that man’s blood is redder.” Rabbi Levitas of Yavneh said: Be very, very humble, for the end of man’s hope is the worm.”

In Christianity, one would read how Jesus manifested unconditional love for all people. He gave himself to save sinners. He called his disciples to love their enemies, to rely only on faith. Above all, Jesus called on one to judge himself before judging others and to criticize oneself before criticizing others.

Love and peace do not go hand in hand with hatred and murder. In 1 John 3:15 one finds “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.” Christians are called upon to be proactive in the work of justice and not to remain passive. To be respected and honored, Christians must manifest total justice for all parties involved in the Arab Israeli conflict. “For Harold respected John, knowing that he was a just man and a holy… and he heard him gladly” Mark 6:20

Muslims have a big role to play, as well, in the peace building efforts in the Holy Land. Inspired by their faith, Muslims can share the responsibility in the path to peace and reconciliation. The Qur’an makes it clear to Muslims that the struggle against injustice and oppression is a universal struggle in which Muslims are called to join others among whom are Christians and Jews. Prior to Islam, God’s prophets taught the principles of morality and law that have served humankind for centuries as a basis of judgment between right and wrong.

The very word Islam from the Arabic Silm includes peace according to a tradition of prophet Muhammad. Peace is one of the prerequisites of Islam. Islam states that a Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand all people are safe. One of the attributes of God described in the Qur’an is As-salaam, which means peace and security. Paradise is the abode of peace granted to those who work for peace. When war breaks out, the Qur’an teaches that peace and reconciliation are the best of all actions. God has decreed that success will be achieved through a reconciliatory path, and not on a confrontational or a violent course of action. Whenever Muhammad had an option between two courses of action, he always chose the non-confrontational one. Non confrontational work for justice is the best of all deeds as the Qur’an puts it: “Stand out firmly for justice even if it were against yourselves” 4:127

“We fear what we do not know.” This Statement is attributed to Ali bin Abi Talib, the fourth caliph of Islam. Unfortunately after 1400 years, it still applies in far too many places. Although as a result of modern technology and communication means, contacts between the inhabitants of the world have never been so close as they are today, ancient suspicions still live on.

This ignorance is also threatening religious and ethnic minorities in many places by extremist groups and by politicians who use religion and ideologies for their own selfish purposes all of which leads to anxiety and wars. Even when wars end people have the tendency to create new enemies to replace the former enemy as if life cannot go on without wars.

In the midst of this unrest, God calls on us to reaffirm the bond between all people of different faiths, nationalities, and ethnicities across the globe. We need to recapture a spiritual sense of history to overcome narrow-minded concepts of us vs. them. This could become the work off all of those who yearn to peace and justice around the world. According to the Muslim Holy Qur’an, God declares: “O people! I created you from a single pair of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may come to know one another and not that you may despise each other. The best amongst you is he/she who is a doer of good.” Qur’an 49:13

Creating peace between nations and establishing justice is, indeed, the work of God conscious individuals. Working for peace is the very work of God. Those created in the image of God can better do God’s work by improving the prospect for durable peace in a way that will affirm and uphold the right to life of every human being in the face of lawless violence. It would challenge the resort to destruction that is wrought by indiscriminate use of force. Thou must not kill according to the Bible and He who kills one person it would be as if he killed all humanity according to the Qur’an must become the banners we all hold up and strive for.

“And when they seek peace with you seize to peace yourself if you truly love God .” Qur’an 8:61. Peace is the work of the prayerful person who made peace with himself first. According to Oscar Arias: “Peace is not the product of a victory or a command. It has no finishing line, no final deadline, no fixed definition of achievement. Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions.”

How can we all march for peace all around us is the very exact service God calls us to do. Jesus calls on his followers “Blessed are the peace makers” Later he goes a step higher and says: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-46.

Well! We may need to destroy our enemies. From Abraham Lincoln we learn that: “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” All of us need to be a part of this endeavor of love building and peace making. Never say you cannot do it just remember that “If you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room” as Anita Koddick said.

What is expected of us is that we first, understand ourselves deeper; second, learn more about each other, and thirdly, master the art of listening to other people’s stories.

Lets our struggle be with education and inclusively peace will be made and with education and inclusively we will reaffirm the human rights embodied in the Universal declaration proclaiming that all human are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that recognition of the inherit dignity of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergymen and woman must start marching together for peace in the Middle East. They must work together to ensure that the three faiths peacefully co-exist in an environment that respects the religious sites of all the three faiths. The three communities can share the land with full respect for shared perspectives on the inalienable right of all sides to self-determination, both politically and as individuals.

Jews, Muslims, and Christians agree that their Almighty God is One. They must work to please only the ONE. They have more in common than any would ever think. They must coordinate their efforts to work within the framework of the common grounds. Abraham, the father of all, is spiritually the shared ancestor of half the people alive today. We all pray that God will bless the nations of the world through the descendants of Abraham when they are willing to share God’s love.

If we were Abraham’s children we would do the work of Abraham. Each community has a direction to which it turns. However, we can so compete with one another in doing peace building around the world.

Is it possible for the children of Abraham to coexist peacefully?
In his most recent visit to Jerusalem, Pope John Paul II prayed that:
”God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations. We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer. And asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the covenant.”
Abraham will become proud of us only if we are willing to work together for a world when liberty and justice are available to all. He will be proud of us when we are able to speak up for all God’s creation, when we courageously witness for God’s love, when we accept no more to be silent and when our voices become loud enough for justice, peace and love.

I pray that we all march together for peace in the Middle East and globally for all God’s people.

Dear brothers and sisters, As one family with different brothers and sisters and the common grounds we have we will over come all barriers and march together for global peace.

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