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The Stars Are Suddenly Too Few
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
A statement by
Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon, bishop of Washington pro tempore and president of the Interfaith Alliance; Jack Moline, rabbi of the Agudas Achim Congregation, Alexandria, and member of the Board of the Interfaith Alliance; Abdul Aziz Said, Mohammed Said Farsi, professor of Islamic Peace at the American University.

We write as representatives of different faith traditions, but with one voice, for we share one set of spiritual ancestors. We write perhaps not 100 generations removed from our common parents Abram and Sarai, and Hajarr, Abraham and Sara, who were promised by the One God/The Almighty/Elohim that their offspring would be a multitude of nations and as numerous as the stars.

To our common sorrow, the events of Sept. 11 have extinguished the light of life in too many of those beloved sons and daughters of Sarah and Abraham. The stars are suddenly too few, and our world seems darker for it. Across Washington and across the planet, the flags of that multitude of nations -- not just the United States -- fly at half staff in mute testimony to our common humanity.

As the human family, and as people of faith, our sorrow is without bounds because we do not yet know the boundaries of our loss. But as boundless as our sorrow may be, our love for the one God and for one another is even more expansive. That love has demanded that we write, and commands us to act.

Together, we pledge to be active witnesses in a shattered world to a God who wants us restored and whole -- whole as individuals, whole as families, whole as communities and whole as the family of nations. We pledge to care for one another in this time of unspeakable tragedy, and to call those in our respective traditions to do likewise. We promise to challenge every effort to demonize whole communities based on the outrageous acts of a few hate-consumed individuals.

We commit to celebrate the shared beliefs that bind us -- especially the sanctity of all human life -- while we honor the differences that have called us on separate paths to the same good destination where we are to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.

God has not forsaken us, and God has not set us one against another. As we have been called to walk humbly in God's company, so we call on all who claim faith and profess love of God to walk humbly -- respectfully -- reverently with one another through the darkness of these days and into the light of the future defined by kindness and justice that we have been promised.

In the name of the one God: Salaam. Shalom. Peace.

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