Thursday, August 4, 2011

Work With Us to Seek Justice


Shakeel Syed, Grace Said, and Rabbi Brian Walt
Above from left:
Shakeel Syed, Grace Said, Rabbi Brian Walt


We, leaders in the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, write to you at the start of the month of Ramadan, a time when practicing Muslims deepen their spiritual experience. Among other virtues, empathy toward the oppressed and the indigent is especially exercised.

At the end of August, Jews begin a 40-day period of repentance, when we examine our wrongdoing, concluding on the holiest day of the Jewish year, the fast of Yom Kippur. On that day Jews read the words of the prophet Isaiah: "This is the fast that God desires: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, to share your bread with the hungry, to take the wretched poor into your home."

Christians often turn to fasting and repentance as a spiritual discipline in the face of injustice that draws one closer to God and to one's neighbor suffering from injustice. Think of Cesar Chavez's fast for justice for farm workers and Witness Against Torture's fasts to protest detention and torture at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.  

This Ramadan we express our empathy with the Palestinians' decades-long quest for freedom, and work together to help end U.S. support for Israel's denial of Palestinian human rights.


As faith leaders active in interfaith alliances, we urge you to please include the US Campaign in your special giving this Ramadan and in the coming seasons of Jewish and Christian celebrations.

The US Campaign is the only national coalition that brings together a diverse membership of nearly 360 groups and 50,000 individuals to work for change in U.S. policy.

Breaking the fast with family and friends is a centuries-old tradition that Muslims around the world are able to celebrate. But many Palestinian Muslims cannot. Their families and friends are dispersed across the globe, prevented by Israel from returning to their homes and lands.

Many cannot even break their fast (Iftar) at sunset with loved ones from neighboring villages and towns bisected by Israel's Apartheid Wall and roads, and by hundreds of checkpoints. And the Palestinians of Gaza have had year-round "fasting" imposed on them by Israel's draconian siege, now in its sixth year.

Muslims traditionally give charity (zakat) to the poor in the blessed month of Ramadan. Palestinian Muslims give too, but most have been forced into dependency on foreign aid, either by Israel's blockade of Gaza or by the tight border controls around all occupied Palestinian territories. Still others are deprived by Israel's rejection of the refugees' right of return -- in violation of international law.

Working together through our nationwide coalition, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, we can help change U.S. policy and break the long fast for Palestinian freedom.

Our three traditions -- Islam, Judaism and Christianity -- all uphold justice. No religion's faithful want to see injustice done in any part of the world, and especially not for so long in a land so dear to our three faiths. We salute the commitment by people of faith from all over the world to support freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.  

Please donate now, and help us to work for U.S. policy that ends our country's support for Israel's denial of Palestinian freedom and human rights.


Shakeel Syed
Steering Committee
Member
US Campaign
Grace Said
Board Member
Friends of Sabeel
North America
Rabbi Brian Walt
Co-coordinator
Jewish Fast for Gaza