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article imageIsrael – Gaza Crisis Resolution Example Set in American City

By Carol Forsloff     Jan 25, 2009 in World
Those who call themselves the sons of Abraham and their descendants broke not bread but cookies on Sunday. They drank not wine nor water from gourds, but instead produced coffee and coke to share. Welcome to World Religion Day in Shreveport.
Some bought popcorn and ate with their brothers and sisters from the same bag.
Today was World Religion Day in Shreveport, Louisiana. It is like a family reunion with the members running across the room to embrace and greet one another. Jew, Muslim, Catholic, mainstream Protestant, Unitarian Universalist, Unity, Buddhist, Hindu, Eckist, Baha’i, Wiccan, all assembled in a giant room to enjoy the company and comradeship of one another. Every year these groups gather, enjoy fellowship and the exchange of ideas without rancor, without recrimination and with clearly-demonstrated cooperation and pleasure.
How do they do this? Individual members say they honor the fact that there are many individual paths for worship. Although each holds firmly to a sacred belief, there is enough respect for other points of view to allow genuine dialogue.
World Religion Day brings people of many faiths to share ideas on topics that affect the whole community, whether that is poverty, the economy, education or just how to get along. This was my third year to cover it for a local paper 70 miles from Shreveport. As usual I saw the same level of peaceful sharing as I had seen the year before.
Folks declare the most attractive interaction is that between the Muslims and members of the Jewish community. It seems these people can hardly wait to greet each other. They visit the booths of one another, arm in arm, have pictures taken, smile, and talk of many pleasant things. Both Jews and Muslims underline the fact that they are brothers and sisters. Both groups wish that their positive regard and respect for one another could be worldwide. Both groups maintain that extremism in their religious ranks is not a fair representation of their respective faiths nor does it provide a path to lasting peace.
Pictures often tell a story better than words, as they likely do on this occasion. On World Religion Day in Shreveport, Muslims from Jerusalem and Palestine, Jews from Israel and America stand with a Catholic sister declaring the foundation of what they say could resolve the Israeli-Palestine conflict. That, they emphasize, is the ability to love and respect one another and look for ways that the entire community of those Abraham descendants might work together to solve common problems, as they are able to do in a town like Shreveport. They believe that kind of cooperation is possible anywhere and hope that the good news of World Religion Day might spread to everyone who needs the message of love and cooperation enjoyed on Sunday.
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