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Interfaith forum aims to challenge, unify

Speakers will discuss whether religion thwarts peace.

Published February 4, 2007


Perhaps peace begins when one looks into another's eyes.

That's the idea, in part, that is driving an interfaith public forum Thursday at the Palladium. Three national leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions are featured.

Their topic: "Is Religion an Obstacle to Peace?"

"My personal opinion is, if we look back in history, I believe there are some people who think there are more wars fought in the name of God than any other name. Unfortunately, I'd have to agree with that," said Kate Fagan, who is the co-chair of Serving The One, the sponsoring group.

The free program, to which all are invited, starts at 7 p.m. The Palladium is at 253 Fifth Ave. N.

The speakers:

IMAM W. DEEN Mohammed, founder and president of the Mosque Cares. He has written several books, is host of a television program and a nationally syndicated radio program, and has served as the international president of the World Conference of Religion and Peace.

THE REV. DR. DONNA SCHAPER. SHe is a widely recognized feminist, civil rights and peace activist. The author of more than 18 books and articles, she is senior minister of Judson Memorial Church (affiliated with American Baptist Church and United Church of Christ) in New York City.

RABBI ARTHUR WASKOW. Founder and director of the Shalom Center, he was named in 1996 by the United Nations as a "Wisdom Keeper" among 40 religious and intellectual leaders who met in connection with the Habitat II conference in Istanbul.

Each will speak for 20 minutes. A question-and-answer period will follow. A social, which the speakers will likely attend, will cap the evening.

"I'm hoping they'll challenge the audience to examine whatever your religious persuasion might be, and make sure you are understanding and applying it to your life, to better your life and let you be an example," said Abdul Karim Ali, also a Serving The One co-chair.

Serving The One is an interfaith group with a mission to build understanding among diverse groups.

Said Fagan: "I can't do anything about what President Bush does in Iraq or Iran. But I can help on a local basis, help people look into each other's eyes and really see each other.

"And if we eat with each other and sing with each other and talk, it helps us to lessen our fear of people we don't know."

[Last modified February 3, 2007, 20:33:13]

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