Crisis in the Holy Land: Finding Religion's Voice

Aired 2002-03. Islam, Judaism and Christianity each have deep and historic roots in the Holy Land. The current crisis in the region leads many people to ask what role the theology and spirituality, of each of these three faiths, plays as the world seeks harmony in this ancient land. Do the scriptures and traditions of the three Abrahamic religions in any way inform the thinking of their members as they confront the painful issues and seek justice and peace? To shed light on the matter, the broadcast gathered representatives from these three faiths. They met together at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, to share experiences and explore religion's voice. Several representatives have spent time in the Middle East, with extensive exposure to the current crisis. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of Al-Farah Mosque in New York, and peace-activist, Mr. Azam Saeed, a businessman from Connecticut, shared their views from a Muslim perspective. Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener of Mid-East Citizen Diplomacy, a peace activist group and Rabbi Jack Bemporad, Director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding, spoke from a Jewish experience, A Christian dimension was brought to the dialogue by Rev. James Forbes, Senior Minister of The Riverside Church, New York and John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. Their discussion's centered on what each religion teaches about seeking peace, and the obligation it places on followers to show respect and compassion to an enemy. The broadcast was illustrated with footage from varied sources, including two recent trips to the disputed areas by a delegation from Church World Service and the National Council of Churches and a group of journalists exploring how the tensions are addressed in the U.S. media.