Opinion: Middle East

by Rev. Dr. Thomas Johnson

What in heavens name is going on in the Middle East? This question has been asked by all recently, including, for the past 15 years, the local peacemaking group, Inland Valley Interfaith Working Group for Peace in the Middle East.
This group has hosted the annual Interfaith Walk for Peace, and numerous Interfaith Itars (including one at Temple Beth Israel) and Seders (at the Claremont Islamic Center). It has also provided educational events to help build understanding, including travel expert Rick Steves discussing his presentation on the Holy Land (which we highly recommend—watch at Ricksteves.com).
In January 2019 approximately 150 people gathered at Claremont School of Theology for an event we called “What in heavens name is going on in the Middle East?” We had excellent panelists followed by very meaningful discussion about what can we do here in the U.S. to promote peace overseas.
The program was so well received that we have decided to hold a second event with the same title: “What in heavens name is going out in the Middle East Part 2,” which will take place over Zoom from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, June 6. For more information and to register for the event, visit MideastPeace.Eventbrite.com.
Our special guest will be congresswoman Judy Chu, who will discuss the new administration’s policy for peace, especially in light of the recent conflicts there.
We realize that this is a very complicated issue with many mixed emotions and we ask all who attend to be respectful of each other’s views and opinions.
As we have discovered through the efforts of our group, genuine peacemaking happens when we get to know each other as friends and realize we share the same dream of unity and peace.
We can even inspire each other to keep working towards the goal of peace and dignity for all involved.
This group represents a rich diversity as members of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian local communities as well as other faith traditions are encouraged to be in dialogue with each other and develop meaningful relationships.
Our hope is to once again offer our annual Walk for Peace—in person—on October 17, from 4 to 6 p.m.
We will begin at Claremont Presbyterian Church, make our way to Temple Beth Israel, visit Claremont Islamic Center and conclude with a meal at the City of Knowledge Islamic School.
Please save the date and watch for more information.
Also please visit and like our Facebook page, “Inland Valley Interfaith Working Group for Peace in the Middle East”
Please join us as together we better understand and respond to what is going on in the Middle East…for the sake of peace!

Rev. Dr. Thomas Johnson is a coordinator for the Inland Valley Interfaith Working Group for Peace in the Middle East.


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