Interfaith prayers for Gaza peace

By 
  • January 15, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - While the bitter politics of confrontation between mainly Jewish supporters of Israel and mainly Palestinian supporters of Hamas continued to play out in demonstrations in Toronto, Christians, Jews and Muslims came together at the Noor Cultural Centre to pray for peace Jan. 9.

Rabbis and imams were on the same page praying for the children, the innocent and even the fighters, as well as for a speedy and just solution to the Gaza conflict which erupted just after Christmas and has claimed about 1,000 lives, mostly Palestinians.

The afternoon gathering took the form of Muslim jumaa prayers, one of the five daily prayer periods obligatory for Muslims.

Afifa Siddiqui said she was moved by Rabbi Arthur Bielfeld’s prayer offered for the children of Gaza.

“It’s a universal theme for everybody,” she said.

Laury Silvers said she was close to tears as the prayers opened with the group chanting the words salaam, shalom, pacem and peace.

“It went straight to my heart,” she said. “I didn’t have to think about all the issues.”

Matthew Tourage said he was grateful for the opportunity to pray with Muslims, Jews and Christians.

“In times of extreme hardship the only place to turn is God, it seems to me,” he said.

Timothy Gianotti closed the prayers with a tearful reminder that peace is an attribute of God.

“Lord, outside of you there is no peace. So we beg in your mercy, knowingly or unknowingly, bring us home,” the York University professor of Islamic studies prayed.

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