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Friday, September 21, 2001

Forum fosters unity, peace

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

About 100 students, faculty and community residents participated Thursday night in a forum at the Cintas Center at Xavier University designed to bring people from different religious faiths together to promote peace and unity in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Brueggeman Center for Interreligious Dialogue at Xavier sponsored the forum, titled “Responding to Sept. 11: An Interreligious Interactive Public Forum for Discussion, Reflection and Prayer.”

The forum featured a vigil and observances from religious leaders from Greater Cincinnati, including those representing the Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim religions.

Forum organizers said they hoped the event would allow Cincinnatians to move beyond political rhetoric and engage in reflection, prayer and conversation.

“We're not just here to talk about religion, we're here to talk about social problems and to help promote justice and peace,” said Paul Knitter, professor of theology at Xavier.

Mr. Knitter said the forum was intended not only to reflect on past events but to bring the voice of reason and understanding as the United States prepares to back up its threats of revenge against those responsible for the attacks.

“You don't answer hatred with hatred,” he said. “You answer hatred with love and forgiveness. That's the heart of Christianity and other religions.”

©Copyright 2001, The Cincinnati Enquirer

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