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Peace March - Synagogue To Church To Mosque

A March For Justice And Peace - Synagogue To Church To Mosque

On Sunday 2 February 2003 around 200 people of different religions and beliefs joined together in Auckland to show a united front towards peace in the Middle East. Twelve of these people had travelled from Hamilton. Pax Christi member, David Wakim welcomed participants outside the Synagogue at Kadimah College in Greys Ave. Prayers followed this welcome from communities representing Jews, Christians and Muslims. The over-riding theme was a prayer for peace in the Middle East with Mohammad Umar Chand of the Muslim community reminding us all from the words of the Koran that we belong to the land - not that the land belongs to us!

As this diverse group of people joined together in a march from Synagogue to Church to Mosque Laurie, Sacha and John led us in song. Peace be with you, and with you be peace - we sang in English, in Hebrew, in Maori and in Arabic. We are the peacemakers - we are the people of God. We quickly learnt the words of peace - Salaam in Arabic, Shalom the Hebrew word for peace. The religion didn't matter - Methodist, Hebrew, Anglican, Quaker, Muslim, Catholic - we were united with just one thought in our minds - PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

Our arrival at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ponsonby saw Fr Terry Dibble appeal to people to gather in a spirit of peace in a society that is disturbed by violence. It is important that people should not use traditional religion to justify their actions - he encouraged participants to lobby local councils, regional councils and the New Zealand Government to constantly seek peace and to work towards solving the problems of the world in their daily work.

Susan Healey reminded us that all humans on earth are sisters and brothers. The truth that is at the heart of all religions is PEACE. If the spirit of Islam, the spirit of Jewish and the spirit of Christianity are truly present then we will find peace throughout the world.

Our time at the Mosque commenced with George Armstrong urging us to move forward together to fulfil the deepest riches of faith. Together we must join with the peoples of the world to find justice and peace - in this way we can achieve what we hope for and desire.

Gul Zaman of the Muslim community welcomed us to the Mosque. A young student Arif Rasheed representing the Muslim Students Association spoke passionately, noting that it is people like us who gave hope to those suffering in Palestine. Gul acknowledged those who had organized this event, those present, and those who have the power to make a difference - including MP Keith Locke who attended. Gul went on to say that history shows over and over again ordinary people have had to fight the establishment for the rights of the downtrodden and the weak. He encouraged those people who have a conscience and who are not afraid to speak out to take steps to make a difference.

The march was concluded by David Wakim announcing that there would be a march of solidarity, showing our disgust at the proposed war on Iraq at Noon of Saturday 15 February in Queen Elizabeth Square.

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