The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, a former Episcopal bishop of Washington and four Iranian Shi’ite Muslims, two holding the rank of ayatollah, are among the religious leaders who’ve traveled to Beirut, Lebanon, for the second Christian-Muslim peace summit organized by Washington National Cathedral.
The three-day conference, which opened June 18, is taking place against a regional backdrop that includes the conflict spilling into Lebanon from nearby Syria, the chaotic Egyptian elections, the threat of nuclear strikes between Israel and Iran, and following the 45th anniversary of the 1967 war that ended in the occupation of the Palestinian Territories.
The highest ranking clergyman of the Iranian group, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri, invoked the sense of near-emergency felt by many of the delegates, as he urged the dozens of religious leaders – representing nearly all strains of Christianity and Islam – to envision “the heaven and passion of coexistence,” adding that “dialogue was born with humanity itself.”
The international peace summits – two more are planned – were organized at Washington National Cathedral by the Rt. Rev. John B. Chane, 8th bishop of Washington, D.C., and the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, director of the cathedral’s Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation.
Information on the previous summit is available on the Cathedral’s website.