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Day of peaceful coexistence

Leaders set prayerful example

The Rev. Dan Hurlbert (left), representing Christianity; Imam Omar Shahin (center),
representing Islam; and Rabbi Tom Loucheim, representing Judaism, bow their heads in
prayer at the University Religious Council's multifaith service yesterday on the
UA campus.
Photos by TRICIA McINROY/Tucson Citizen
Tucson Citizen
March 27, 2003

Religious leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths prayed together for peace yesterday in front of University of Arizona's Old Main building.

UA President Peter Likins and representatives of the Buddhist and Baha'i religions were at the multifaith service, sponsored by the University Religious Council.

"These cultures are bound together by the common belief of peaceful coexistence and shared internal values," Likins said. "Just the presence of those people together sends a powerful message."

The theme behind the service was unity among the religions and different cultures in the world.

"Let the religions agree and make the nations one so that they may see each other as one family and the whole Earth as one home," Eugene

Yazdani said, in a prayer taken from the Baha'i writings.

Dan Hurlbert, campus pastor for the United Methodist Church, agreed.

"The whole world is one family," Hurlbert said. "When one member suffers, we all suffer.

"There is a sameness amongst us all that is greater than any difference that we have."

Ken Bacher, a Buddhist, speaks at UA multifaith service.

Hurlbert acknowledged there is a difference of opinion on war in Iraq within his faith.

"The Christian community is divided on the issue of the war with Iraq. And as a Methodist, I can tell you my own denomination is divided," Hurlbert said.

The Methodist bishop is against the war, but President Bush, also a Methodist, obviously supports it, Hurlbert said.

Omar Shahin, imam and director of the Islamic Center of Tucson, said that during wartime, it is especially important for religions to come together.

"We as believers, we should work together hand to hand and with an open mind," Shahin said. "Killing any human being in our global village should get us very angry. Regardless of his faith, regardless of his skin color."

Likins said events such as yesterday's and similar ones since

9-11 play the important role of showing unity at UA.

"I'm trying to hang on here to the sense of community in our university," Likins said, pointing out that students at UA come from many cultures, countries and backgrounds.

"It's hard to hold it together when there are major conflicts anywhere in the world," he said. "I regard my responsibility as trying to hold it together."

Rabbi Tom Loucheim represented the Jewish faith at the event.

©Copyright 2003, Tucson Citizen (AZ, USA)

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