From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Three Faiths Urged to Go Beyond 'Exclusivist' Claims to

Date 06 May 1996 06:12:18

Canon James M. Rosenthal, Director of Communications
Anglican Communion News Service
157 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UT, England
Tel. 44 0171 620-1110
Fax 44 0171 620-1071

#724  ACC 

29 September 1995 

(ENI - Ecumenical News International) Following an August meeting in
Amman, Jordan, representatives of the three monotheistic faiths
issued statements declaring the importance of Jerusalem to their
religious groups. The statements from Jewish, Christian and Muslim
leaders who live in the Middle East were released by Jordan's Royal
Institute for Interfaith Studies.

Rabbi David Rosen, the Jerusalem director of interfaith relations
for the Anti-Defamation League, said the site of Solomon's Temple in
Jerusalem was "the only real holy site for Judaism." He explained
that "the emanation of sanctity" from what Jews call the Temple
Mount "gives the whole city a sanctity greater than anywhere else."

Muslims believe that the Day of Judgement will occur in Jerusalem,
which they call "Al Quds," literally "the Holiness." For the Prophet
Mohammed, Jerusalem was the first "Qiblah," or direction for prayer,
before Mecca became the centre of Islamic faith.

Jerusalem is of vital importance to Christians as the scene of the
crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and the site of the birth of
the Church. According to the President-bishop of the Episcopal
Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, Samir Kafity, because
Jerusalem is holy to Jews and Muslims as well as Christians, it has
"a special vocation--calling for reconciliation among people whether
citizens, pilgrims or visitors."

President Bishop Kafity's Cathedral Church of St. George is in
Jerusalem. "For local Christians, as well as for local Jews and
Muslims, Jerusalem is not only a Holy City but also their native
city," he said. "They have a right to live there freely with all the
rights that pertain to that."

In the three-faith document, President Bishop Kafity called on "all
parties to accept the nature and deep significance of Jerusalem, the
City of God." The bishop invited "each party to go beyond all
exclusivist visions, and without discrimination, to consider the
religious and national aspirations of others."

His vision is that Jerusalem will regain "its true universal
character" and become "a holy place of reconciliation for

The three statements were made public in connection with a major
inter-faith conference in Amman, sponsored by the Royal Institute
for Interfaith Studies under the patronage of Crown Prince El

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