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Leaders share faiths' teachings

Nearly 200 gather to hear responses to attacks

of the Journal Sentinel staff

Last Updated: Oct. 12, 2001

About 180 people of many faiths and ethnic backgrounds gathered Thursday night at Milwaukee's Islamic Center for the first of four forums the Milwaukee Association for Interfaith Relations is holding in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"As we gather here tonight, we really are aware of a mix of emotions that we all have - sadness, anger, frustration. . . . But also an awareness that we are called to a deeper understanding of how we live together as members of a very diverse and plural faith community," said Judith Longdin, chairwoman of the association and director of the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese's Ecumenical and Interfaith Concerns Office.

Panelists from Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist and Christian traditions each spoke for 15 minutes on their faith's teachings about violence, intolerance and the common good before answering questions. Each tradition has commitments to justice and peace, and each sees the taking of innocent lives as wrong.

The speakers, in order of appearance, were: Othman Atta, Islamic Society of Milwaukee vice president; the Rev. Tonen O'Connor, Milwaukee Zen Center resident priest; Father Bryan Massingale, professor of moral theology at the archdiocese's St. Francis Seminary; and Jody Hirsh, director of Judaic education at the Jewish Community Center.

The association is the dialogue arm of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee. The series, "Interfaith Conversations: Community in a Time of Crisis," offers similar programs at 7 p.m. on: Monday at Congregation Shalom, 7630 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Fox Point; Thursday at Baha'i Faith-Milwaukee, 2526 W. Vliet St.; and Oct. 21 at St. John Vianney Parish, 1755 N. Calhoun Road, Brookfield. Call (414) 276-9050.

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Oct. 13, 2001.

©Copyright 2001, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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