Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (left) and Bishop Munib Younan posed for a photo after sharing an iftar meal in Ramallah on Aug. 26. Carter was in the region with The Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders seeking to use their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.
Their Aug. 25-28 visit to Israel-Palestine was intended to allow the group to listen to the people affected by the conflict here and to offer their support to all those working for peace.
For more about The Elders, go to their website at www.theelders.org.
The Oriental Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican Churches invited the higher Islamic council, Chief Islamic Justice Sheikh al Tamimi, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, Islamic Awqaf Adnan Hussein, Jerusalem PLC members and about 100 other dignitaries and civil society leaders both Christian and Muslim to celebrate a traditional “iftar” meal Tuesday after the Ramadan fasting day ended. Bishop Younan welcomed the group, and PA President Abu Mazen’s Chief of Staff Mr. Rafik Husseini gave the President’s regrets that he couldn’t be there since these community-building events are so important.
The speakers called for an end to recent tensions between Muslims and Christians, with Sheikh Tamimi recalling the Covenant of Omar in the 7th century which calls for good relations between Muslims and Christians. He recalled that the majority of Christians and Muslims have lived together in peace since then. The speakers agreed that they should work together to see that statements and events outside of this area not affect relations here. All the speakers emphasized the importance of the Holy City of Jerusalem for all, and His Beatitude Michel Sabbah reiterated their common belief that Jerusalem must be shared among Christian, Muslim and Jew and between Palestinian and Israeli. He said these kinds of events are important and must be continued to strengthen community. They also called for unity not only between Muslim and Christian but also among all the Palestinian factions, and urged an end to violence of all kinds.