Latin Patriarch Leads Effort for an End to Suicide Attacks

Campaign of Prayer for Peace Under Way in Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM, AUG. 16, 2002 ( A delegation of Christian leaders led by Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah made a call on the spiritual leader of the militant Hamas movement, in a bid to stop suicide bombings against Israelis.

With the two-hour meeting at Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s house last Saturday, the patriarch was trying to revive consultations among Palestinian leaders to seek an end to the attacks, said a patriarchate official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The patriarchs and heads of churches, communities and institutions in Jerusalem called for a campaign of prayer for peace, which would include daily meetings in various places of worship in the Holy City. The meetings started Thursday and will run through this Sunday.

In a statement, the Christian leaders say that the «picture presented to our children and young people is one of the wholesale disregard for human life and dignity, as murder, assassination and destruction of homes continue.»

«This in turn is intensifying the desire for revenge on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian alike, while at the same time encouraging hatred rather than respect and mutual understanding,» they add.

«We are convinced that God alone can rescue all of us from this intolerable position which is why we are calling upon all our people throughout this land, to join us in intensifying our prayers for peace, with justice and reconciliation. Hopefully, our Muslim and Jewish friends will feel able to add their prayers too,» they stress.

The campaign of prayer began Thursday in the Armenian Cathedral of St. James, in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. Today, the meeting was scheduled to take place in the Chapel of Tantur Ecumenical Institute, on Bethlehem Road.

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