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Unity prepares Jerusalem a prayer: Jews, Muslims and Christians connect for praise

Eight religious leaders created their congregations together for eight points in one room. It was a dangerous move

In a small building in the foreboding shadow of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum ogled upon a gang sitting attentively before her. We have had a long way to go to prepare for this evening, she enunciated with a soft smile. Today we all do something very brave.

Certainly this batch was unlike any she, the leader of an Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, was used to addressing. As well as the usual scant dress and kippah wear in her synagogue, there were some intersections worn around cervixes. Others sat in the traditional pitch-black attire of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and various nuns in their practices be gathered at the back of the chamber. Numerous were wearing no religion garb at all. But they were all there to pray.

Last week, and for plainly eight periods, a music academy in the lowest hollow of Jerusalem was be converted into a communal house of prayer, announced Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and their churches to worship together in one chamber. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated municipality.

The project, part of the Jerusalem season of culture, was launched by Elad-Abblebaum and the Muslim Sufi Sheikh Ihab Balah almost one year ago. They contacted out to six other religion tissues two rabbis, a Franciscan monk, a Catholic priest, a Coptic deaconess and a female Muslim community leader who were very traditional in their beliefs and conventions, but likewise open to discussions with other faiths.

Elad-Abblebaum belief: I never imagined something like this would be possible in my lifetime. Jews who live in the territories publicly praying together with Palestinians, this is a big probability and a major step. But this is not a political programme; we wanted parties received from the right and from the left and have demonstrated that faith is beyond precept. Here, “were both” reshaping world and we are doing it through prayer.

She emphasised how Amen is not simply brought closer Israels discordant beliefs, but likewise men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.

Waida
Waida Ibtisam Mahmeed ties up the rows of muslin that hang from the ceiling in preparation for an night of devotion and song. Envision: Michal Fattal

We were all speaking the same language

Over the previous six months, all eight chairmen had fulfilled formerly a few weeks to discuss how development projects could be realised and even travelled together to the desert to practise praying together. For most, this was a completely new know. Catholic Rev Rafik, who has manipulated a different figure in the programme to prevent a reaction against their own families, who are originally from Lebanon, declared he had not met anyone from the Coptic church before. Fr Alberto Fer, the Franciscan monk, had never spoken with a female rabbi.

Instead of merging prayers and habits, each night the fondnes mansion was hosted by a different religious image, and most of the devotion done through music and song, a common uniter. The prayer book handed out was in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Speaking after the first nights moment, Elad-Abblebaum said she was already implemented in order to make sure development projects lived on beyond its eight ages. You realised unexpectedly we were all speaking the same expression, she announced. It cant precisely has become a recollect, there is a requirement to the force for the next step. We will use this as the seed to develop Jerusalem a permanent plaza where all beliefs can come and pray alongside each other.

In a first step towards providing Amen longevity, the eight religious leaders all met again on Wednesday for a special ritual to tag International Peace Day.

Particularly significant was the collaboration of three imams, including information from al-Aqsa mosque the most important point point locality for Muslims in Jerusalem and the other Palestinian imam who rushed from the West Bank city of Nablus to participate in one of the prayer evenings.

In an atmosphere where Arab involvement in any activity involving Jews leads to accusations of normalisation, such interfaith harmonization can be dangerous. The imams requested not to be named on the programme.

Ihab Balh has recognised that improving development projects had been a objection speed, but that his work with these imams over the past decade had laid the groundwork to return them into Amen and contacted it seem more acceptable.

This project is a milestone because it presents other imams that there are devout religious Muslims who can play a role in tasks like this, he mentioned. Of trend, the allegations of normalisation are a challenge and the reality of Jerusalem today is hatred and parties crusading, but its important at the same is necessary to weed the seeds of beings coming together and seeing each other. Thats what I am doing here.

The
The eight religious leaders, alongside musicians, sit before the batch. Photo: Michal Fattal

Location, target, location

In a town where geography is politics, the scene of the communal house of prayer was essential to ensuring the residents of Jerusalem abode Amen. Elad-Abblebaum acknowledged it had been a formidable project, having been refused again and again by places in both the east and the west of the city and on Mount Zion itself for fear development projects would irritate anger.

The guides eventually settled on the smallest music organization, which learns both Jews and Arabs and sits contiguous to Mount Zion, a pious website for all three ideas. The house, which instantly faces the poverty-stricken Palestinian community of Silwan, is also instantly below the secret zip wire formerly being used to smuggle injured Israeli soldiers over the light-green course from East to West Jerusalem.

Modesty measured the interior design of the prayer chamber. Thin rows of white-hot muslin hung from the ceiling, each standing a quotation from the bible, the Torah or the Quran in both Hebrew and Arabic and the religious leaders, and their associate musicians, sat on wooden chairs.

Rafik affirmed he had been extremely sceptical when firstly approached by Elad-Abblebaum about the prayer house and had encountered some push in his community.

To say the truth, I wasnt certainly convinced at the start, he enunciated. The theory was very nice but I did not be seen to what extent it was able to happen. But when we started fit up, I was stupefied at how real relations developed between us all and I saw there was something concerning there. And that friendship between us, I apprehend, is the humble inaugurating we need to change populaces hearts and from there, their minds.

In an increasingly tense and sporadically brutal political climate, Amen has not been an easy project to be publicly attributed to.

But Waida Ibtisam Mahmeed, one of the eight organisers and a respected Muslim community leader in the Israeli Arab town of Fureidis, said she was unafraid of her participate being regarded as political.

It shouldnt be taken for granted that a piou Muslim woman leaves her husband and her children and her church for a few weeks to do anything, let alone this, Mahmeed speak, and her gazes fitted with weepings as she indicated her hijab.

Sometimes parties, when they accompany the course Im dressed in wall st. they are afraid of me because they accept that every Muslim has a knife to stab a Jew. It is important to emphasise “theres a difference between” what I speak in the Quran and how the latter are are active in the names of the Quran. God didnt tell me to stand up and kill people. I see a lot of hurt and sorrow because of whats going on between Both israelis and Palestinians.

She added: For me Islam, Christianity, Judaism, it is all interconnected. We may pray in different ways with different textbooks but in the end “were all” reaching for same thing.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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