WASHINGTON (January 26, 2007)— A delegation of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders will meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the State Department on January 29 to support increased U.S engagement in achieving peace in the Middle East.
Leaders who will attend the meeting include: Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington; Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church; Rev. Leighton Ford, President, Leighton Ford Ministries; Rabbi Paul Menitoff, Executive Vice President Emeritus, Central Conference of American Rabbis; Rabbi Amy Small, Past President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association; Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America; and Imam Yahya Hendi, Chaplain, Georgetown University.
The meeting with Secretary Rice follows the release of a statement, Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace: From Crisis to Hope, which was signed last month by thirty-five Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders. The statement from this National Inter-religious Leadership Initiative affirms peace as "an essential of faith" in all three religious traditions and asserts that the United States has "an inescapable responsibility and an indispensable role to provide creative, determined leadership for building a just peace in the Middle East." In a letter sent to Secretary Rice, the religious leaders asked for a meeting with the Secretary and acknowledged her "personal commitment to the creation of a viable, independent, and democratic Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel, with security and peace for both peoples."
The full statement is available at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/nilistatement.htm. The letter to Secretary Rice is available at http:// www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/nilirice.htm
Editors: A press briefing will take place at Noon outside the State Department at 2201 C Street, NW. Reporters planning to attend are asked to please confirm their participation with John Gehring, Assistant Director for Media Relations, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Religious leaders will make brief statements and take questions from the media.