Fasting to end war

An interfaith group of religious peace activists blew the shofar on the steps of a church near the Capitol this week in a call for a day of fasting next month to end the war in Iraq.

The Philadelphia-based Shalom Center joined the Islamic Society of North America, the National Council of Churches, the Catholic peace group Pax Christi, The Unitarian Universalist Association, and other religious groups in urging a day of fasting on October 8.

“Broadly and also within the Jewish tradition, fasting represents returning to a spiritual connection to God. The fast is not just for people’s inward lives, but to break off the handcuffs of those in prison, feed the hungry and clothe the naked,” said Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center, after helping lead the service on Capitol Hill calling for a fast on Wednesday.

“In this fast, the point is to move America from conquest to community, from violence to reverence, to call for there to be brought into being an international effort to help Iraqis rebuild their society, with the help of the international community and without the United States making the decisions,” he added.

“We’re also addressing the endemic violence in American society,” said Rabbi Waskow. “The impetus came after the mass murders at Virginia Tech. There’s been more than one murder a day since last Rosh Hashanah.”

Community fasts and services are being held in many traditions throughout the world and are coordinated on the website interfaithfast.org.

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