Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Statement on Gaza

This post appeared originally on the University of Denver Interfaith Student Alliance blog:

In light of the renewed conflict in the Gaza Strip, the University of Denver Interfaith Student Alliance (DU IFA) wishes to extend our condolences to those who have suffered as a result of the recent violence. Both the people of Israel as well as the Palestinians living within Gaza have lost family members, friends, and fellow citizens. For years, many innocent lives have been lost due to the complexities of a region long fraught with violence. There are no easy answers to the questions facing the people of Israel and Palestine. A long history of violence plagues the story of this region, as well as the story of all of humankind. The pages of our collective past are riddled with accounts of conflict and hostility, hatred and fear, war and genocide. Much of this hostility is a result of our tendency to react rashly to difficulties that we all face. As humans we too often view violence as a viable solution to the problems we face living together in our ever shrinking world. We must not succumb to the all too human error of failing to see that we all share these problems, that we are all merely people trying to live together in peace, and that we are all subject to our own prejudices and misconceptions about our fellow men and women.

The members of the DU IFA believe that the wisdom of our collective faith traditions compels us to call for peace, understanding, and compassion. As an organization, our mission is to promote understanding of the full diversity of religious expression. We seek to achieve this goal by promoting dialogue among our members of different faith traditions, with the belief that understanding leads to tolerance, tolerance to acceptance, acceptance to compassion, and compassion to peace. Dialogue is not a debate; dialogue is collaborative discussion that can educate us and enlighten our attitudes. In this way we hope and pray that the parties now entrenched in violence abandon their hostility, and embark upon the seemingly difficult road to peace through dialogue and diplomacy.

The University of Denver prides itself on its diversity. The Interfaith Student Alliance welcomes this diversity in all its forms, whether it be cultural, ethnic, or (especially) religious. Many of our students are Jewish and many are Arab or Muslim. That's not the whole story, of course; DU has many different student faith communities. But whatever religious or faith tradition we call our own, wherever we hail from on the globe, and whatever our political persuasions may be, we all have at least one thing in common here: We are all University of Denver students. We are committed to leaving this school and making a difference. We are the practical idealists and the future leaders. We are all in this together.
Only by talking to one another can we achieve truly rewarding happiness in this life.

Continued violence can only lead to suffering in a region of this world that has already seen too much human hatred. In the words of one of this country's wisest citizens, the Honorable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must remember that "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars." The Interfaith Student Alliance invites all students, faculty, and staff to recognize that whatever might be occurring in the Middle East or indeed, anywhere, we must all continue to learn and grow together in a spirit of fellowship, academic excellence, and above all, peaceful dialogue.

, , ,