Interfaith Fast to Make Peace in Iraq

Dear friends of all faiths and communities,

If you want to sign on to the Call for the Interfaith Fast, please write to and explain what religious congregation, organization, or community you are working with. PLEASE ALSO SIGN UP AND DESCRIBE THE EVENT YOU ARE PLANNING, BY CLICKING TO --


Shalom, salaam, peace –
Rabbi Arthur Waskow


We call on all Americans to join in fasting from dawn to dusk on Monday, October 8, to call for an end to the Iraq War. On this day, people of faith in local communities across our nation will act as catalysts to move America from conquest to community and from violence to reverence.


This war must end!

We must end the shattering of Iraqi and American lives by offering American generosity and support – but not control – for international and nongovernmental efforts to assist Iraqis in making peace and rebuilding their country, while swiftly and safely bringing home all American troops.

Just as Isaiah called the People Israel to hear the Yom Kippur fast as God's call to feed the hungry, just as Jesus fasted in the wilderness, just as Christians through Lenten fasting and Muslims through Ramadan fasting have focused on spiritual transformation, just as Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez and others drew on fasting to change the course of history, so we call on all our communities of faith to draw now on fasting as a path toward inner spiritual transformation and outward social transformation.

American culture, society, and policy are addicted to violence at home and overseas. In our time, the hope of a decent future is endangered by an unnecessary, morally abhorrent, and disastrous war.

Ending this war can become the first step toward a policy that embodies a deeper, broader sense of generosity and community at home and in the world.


Millions of faithful Americans in local communities across the nation who believe in changing the course of our nation’s priorities from conquest to community and from violence to reverence.

This fall, in an unusual convergence, many of our faith traditions share a season of sacred self-assessment and self-transformation. This holy season includes the month of Ramadan and the Night of Power (Islam); the High Holy Days and Sukkot (Judaism); the Feast Day of Francis of Assisi and Worldwide Communion Sunday (Christianity), Pavarana / Sangha Day (Buddhism) and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. Some communities of the First Nations have already begun to observe Columbus Day as Indigenous Nations Day, with practices that transform its meaning.

Since each of our traditions recognizes the power of fasting as a spiritual discipline, we call on all people of faith to join in a fast from dawn to dusk on Monday, October 8.



• During the months of August and September, we will prepare and publicize educational material that religious leaders can use to prepare their congregations to
1. appropriately relate with religious communities other than their own, and
2. learn the spiritual discipline of fasting as a transformational exercise, making clear the distinction between transformational fasting and the abusive use of fasting for the sake of a false sense of beauty and body-image

• We invite individuals or small groups to begin the discipline by fasting one day a week, in the months prior to October 8.

• Sundown, Sunday, October 7: Gather in intentionally interfaith events across the United States to pray and to break bread together.

On Monday, October 8th

• Have a simple meal before dawn, committing to fast throughout the day as a sign of your commitment to move our core values from conquest to community and from violence to reverence.

• While fasting, many of us in cities as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and in local communities across the United States will take part in public vigils, inviting community leaders and elected officials and candidates for the presidency to join us as we commit to take immediate action to end the war. In Washington DC, religious leaders will gather to fast together and engage in a public action to draw attention to the nation-wide events that will take place that day.

• At sunset: We will eat together once again to break bread in public places as a sign of our commitment to work together for peace and an end to violence. This shared meal will be a sign of our covenant with one another – as individuals and as communities - to stand against the war in Iraq, and to work with one another to stand against violence in our communities and around the world. (Communities should be aware that for Muslims, later in the evening there will be large-scale gatherings for the Night of Power, commemorating the first revelation of the Quran. Shared break-fast meals should be scheduled so as to take account of these gatherings.)

Post Events -- A Season of Commitment:

• As a practice of our covenant, we encourage local communities to continue in regular fasting, praying and holding vigils for peace and to take specific actions through the election cycle to stand together against the war in Iraq and against all of the ways in which violence is destroying our communities.

• We encourage participants to continue to reach out to elected officials and candidates for congress and the presidency, inviting them to fast with us, break bread with us, pray with us, vigil with us, and publicly express their commitment to end this war.

• We encourage those who live in states in which primary elections are held to use that opportunity to engage with the presidential candidates in their public appearances about their commitment to end the war

The Invitation:

We, religious leaders from several traditions, invite you to join with millions of other Americans by organizing joint interfaith events in your local community on October 7 and 8th, for the breaking of bread, fasting, and breaking our fast together as we covenant together to live out the deepest calling in each of our traditions – the desire for justice and for peace for all people.

We offer these suggestions to communities that desire to deepen their witness:
• Following the gathering on Oct 7th evening, plan events such as Teach-Ins that may extend to all night events to pray, study nonviolence in our different faith traditions, study sacred texts together, and witness to our opposition to war and violence.
• Extend the fast to twenty-four hours – beginning with our interfaith meal together on Sunday evening, or for Christians, beginning on Sunday morning with the celebration of World Communion.

• Gather on Monday morning, October 8th, for an inspirational public event that will both highlight the issues and provide motivation as we begin the fast.

• Broaden our witness to insist that we stand against all use of torture, as well as to highlight our grave concerns about the growing violence on the streets of our cities and in mass shootings across the country, and about the way in which the media’s obsession with grotesque acts of violence undercuts the most fundamental values of our faith.

To add your individual or organizatioinal signature, write

INDIVIDUAL SIGNERS (Affiliations noted for identification only)
As of September 4, 2007

Parvez Ahmed, Council on American Islamic Relations; Nihad Awad, Executive Director, Council on American Islamic Relations; Rabbi Pamela Frydman Baugh, Past President, OHALAH; Ahmed Bedier Executive Director, CAIR Tampa; Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak; Rabbi Phyllis Berman ; Andrea Blanch, Center for Religious Tolerance ; Rev. Dr. Robert L. Brashear Pastor, West-Park Presbyterian Church; Cherie Brown, National Coalition-Building Institute; Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Chautauqua Institution; Sister Joan Chittister, OSB; Rabbi Howard A. Cohen, American Hebrew Academy; Rupa Cousins, Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative; Al Dell'Angelo, Call to Action – Philadelphia; Rev. Robert Edgar General Secretary, National Council of Churches; Rabbi Ted Falcon, Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue; Rev. Dwala J. Ferrell Executive Director, Petersburg Urban Ministries, United Methodist Church; Gary Gach; Jay Hamburger; Jamie Hamilton, Exeter Academy; Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey, Minister for Ecumenical Relations and Mission Partnerships, Alliance of Baptists; Virginia Gray Henry, Fons Vitae Publishing and Distribution; David L. Hoffman, Humanity Check Interfaith Peace and Reconciliation Project; Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Dean - Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion; Mark C. Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation; Karuki Kimani; Rabbi Michael Lerner, Network of Spiritual Progressives; Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center; Rev. Michael E. Livingston President, National Council of Community Churches; Jackie Lynn Executive Director, Episcopal Peace Fellowship; Earthlyn Manuel, Buddhist Peace Fellowship; Anne McCarthy, OSB; Mary Ellen McNish General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee; Sheila Musaji, "The American Muslim"; Rev. David E. Nelson, The Human Agenda; Fr. John Oliver, Cape Town Interfaith Initiative; Kathy Partridge, Executive Director, Interfaith Funders; Rev. Shanta Premawardhana, Associate General Secretary, National Council of Churches; Jim Rice, Editor, Sojourners Magazine; Cantor Aviva Rosenbloom , Temple Israel of Hollywood; Dr. Sayyid M. Sayeed, Secretary-General, Islamic Society of North America; Carolyn Scarr, Ecumenical Peace Institute/Clergy and Laity Concerned; Elaine & Daniel Schwartz; Rabbi Gerry Serotta; Yonah Shahar; Duane Shank, Senior Policy Advisor, Sojourners/Call to Renewal; Shahid S. Siddiqui, Wilmette Muslim Community; Terence Cozad Taylor, Interfaith Paths to Peace; Rev. Rick Ufford-Chase, Executive Director, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship; Roberta Wall, Buddhist Order of Interbeing; Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center;. Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church


ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal; American Friends Service Committee; Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative; Buddhist Peace Fellowship; Call to Action – Philadelphia; Cape Town Interfaith Initiative; Council on American Islamic Relations; Ecumenical Peace Institute/Clergy and Laity Concerned; Episcopal Peace Fellowship; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Fons Vitae Publishing and Distribution; Humanity Check Interfaith Peace and Reconciliation Project; Interfaith Communities United Justice And Peace (ICUJP), Los Angeles; Islamic Society of North America; Jews Against the War; Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; Medical Mission Sisters' Alliance for Justice Moderator's Global Justice Team, Metropolitan Community Churches; National Coalition-Building Institute; Network of Spiritual Progressives; National Council of Churches, Office of Interfaith Relations; National Council of Churches, Office of International Affairs and Peace; Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement; Presbyterian Peace Fellowship; Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; Sojourners Magazine; Tent of Abraham, Hagar, & Sarah; The Human Agenda; The Shalom Center; Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations; Unitarian Universalist Service Committtee; Wilmette IL Muslim Community

If you want to sign on to the statement, please write to and explain what religious congregation, organization, or community you are working with. PLEASE ALSO SIGN UP AND DESCRIBE THE EVENT YOU ARE PLANNING, BY CLICKING TO --



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