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NCC General Secretary Heads to Middle East for Post-War

May 23, 2003 12:11 PM EDT

NEW YORK CITY - Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the- National Council of Churches USA, will take part in a series of meetings in- the Middle East May 2--June 1 at which religious leaders from many faiths- will come together in support of religious tolerance and multi-religious- cooperation in post-conflict Iraq and elsewhere. They also will seek to lay the groundwork for an international interfaith- summit on multi-religious collaboration for peace, to be held in the region.- The international summit was called for by 75 U.S. Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other religious leaders who met for a -domestic interfaith summit April 30 in Chicago.

"We want to assure our counterparts in the Middle East and around the world- that there are many religious voices of moderation in the United States," Dr. Edgar said. "We want to join together with them to eliminate the rhetoric of hate and end violence perpetrated in the name of religion."

The NCC General Secretary will be accompanied by Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos,- NCC Associate General Secretary for International Affairs and Peace. On- their itinerary:

- An emergency meeting of the Executive Committee of the World- Conference on- Religion and Peace May 2--28 in Amman, Jordan, in support of Iraqi religious- communities traditions of tolerance and religious freedom and desire to- cooperate on immediate needs. Jordans Prince Hassan bin Talal, WCRP- Moderator, will host the meeting, whose theme is -Rejecting Violence and- Promoting Peace with Justice. Participants are expected to include a- significant contingent of Iraqi religious leaders. For more information,- visit the WCRP Web site - http://www.wcrp.org/RforP/SGUPDATES_MAIN.html

- Meetings in Amman with leadership of the Middle East Council of- Churches- May 29-30 to further advance planning for an international interfaith- summit.

- Travel to Damascus, Syria, and, if time allows, to Beirut, Lebanon,- May- 31-June 1 for further meetings with religious leaders. They return to the- United States on June 2.

The upcoming meetings follow on a series of domestic speaking engagements in- which Dr. Edgar has promoted -The Need for a Peace-Centered Foreign Policy.- See www.ncccusa.org for more information.

By Albert H. Lee
chtoday_editor@chtoday.com