Christians, Jews and Muslims Call for Peace & Justice
A Pakistan Link Report

Christians, Jews and Muslims urge for peace at the California State Capitol building in Sacramento, January 16, 2009

Sacramento, CA: Concerned Christians, Jews and Muslims congregated at the California State Capitol building in Sacramento, California, on Friday, January 16th to collectively raise their voice of concern on the humanitarian crisis that has developed in Gaza , where Palestinian civilians are paying a heavy price in the war between Hamas and Israel.
The assorted groups included sponsors, American Muslims for Palestine-Sacramento Valley (AMP-SV), Jewish Voice for Peace-Sacramento Chapter, Council on American-Islamic Relations-California, Council on Sacramento Valley Organizations (COSVIO), Palestine American Congress-Sacramento Chapter, National Council of Arab-Americans, Free Palestine Alliance, Al-Awda Sacramento, Green Party of Sacramento County, Veterans for Peace (Sacramento Chapter), Peace and Freedom Party (Sacramento County Central Committee), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement-AFL-CIO, Union Civica Primero de Mayo, and Frente de Mexicanos en el Exterior. 
The list of speakers brought up a number of specific issues such as damage to hospitals and the loss of electricity there at a time of rising civilian casualties and asked why international law had become non-existent in this case. Another question asked was why the US had been so silent when children have been caught up in the crossfire. One speaker mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose memory we celebrated on January 19th and said that he would not have been silent. “God is watching’” said one speaker. 
Another speaker said that hate would not drive out hate and that we all have a responsibility to seek peace.
Politics took a break for Juma Prayers when Muslims observed their prayers at the California State Capitol steps. Prayers were offered for peace and violence was condemned by those in attendance. Especially noteworthy was a fiery speech by Dr. Hatem Bazian from Berkeley. Dr. Bazian highlighted the issue of stolen land and asked that we do not blame the Prophet Abraham and the Divine for the mess that the region is in today. He said that America says a great deal about security for Israel but it was about time that it started talking about security for Palestinians too.
In a closing note, it was inspirational to watch children taking part in this event at the Capitol and calling for peace and justice. It is worrisome that this conflict is now being addressed by the fourth Palestinian generation and there still appears to be no resolution in sight. And equally worrisome is the lack of intellectual discourse on behalf of the Palestinian people here in the United States, after the passing of Dr. Edward Said and Dr. Eqbal Ahmad. In a way this event honored their memory as it also highlighted the fact that human beings cannot be treated unfairly for an indefinite amount of time.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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