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Interfaith group changes topic of next meeting

March 21, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

In response to the war with Iraq, an interfaith group working for tolerance between people of different faiths has changed the topic of its next public meeting to "Faith and War."

The April 7 meeting was going to be on the topic of church and state but it was decided to instead select a topic related to the war, Rabbi Janice Garfunkel of Community B'nai Abraham in Hagerstown said Thursday.

The change was made last week when it become clear that war seemed inevitable, she said.

The discussion is not intended to be a debate about the merits of the war or the issues involved, Interfaith Council members Garfunkel and the Rev. Don Stevenson, pastor of Christ's Reformed United Church of Christ, said.

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The meeting will focus on seeking common ground based on the idea that everyone involved is affected by the war and threats of terrorism, Stevenson said.

"There is a lot of pain and fears," Stevenson said.

"What we all have in common is that war is affecting us," Garfunkel said.

Garfunkel said members of the temple have been split about support of the war, as have other parts of the nation's population. Some oppose the war because of concern Iraq will fire weapons at Israel, she said.

The war between the United States and the Muslim country of Iraq will not necessarily make it harder to work toward tolerance between Muslims, Christians and Jews, Garfunkel, Stevenson and Dr. Shahab Siddiqui, a member of the Islamic Society of Western Maryland, said Thursday.

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