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GENERAL SECRETARY'S MESSAGE
December 12, 2001, NEW YORK CITY The Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, has issued the following message in anticipation of the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Id al-Fitr, which will be observed on Dec. 16 (Dec. 15 in some communities).
Message to Muslims in the United States
Greetings to you as you complete your fast and prepare to celebrate the festival of fast breaking. I pray that, this year especially, your observance of Ramadan has brought you closer to the One God of us all.
In the wake of the tragic events of September 11th, we as people of faith have all been deeply affected. You in the Muslim community have suffered loss, fear and disorientation along with those of us in the Christian community. My prayer is that we all find solace in the presence and mercy of God, and in each other.
I am keenly aware that Muslims here continue to be the objects of suspicion and of acts of prejudice and hate in the present climate, despite the fact that the acts of terror of September 11 have been as clearly condemned by voices of authority throughout the Muslim community as by our churches. We in the churches are taking action to raise concerns about a number of measures being taken by this U.S. Administration in its domestic response to terrorism. We need to work together to preserve our country's vital commitment to the civil rights and liberties of its citizens.
The awful events of September 11 also opened many hearts and minds in our country; many are now eager to know about neighbors of other faiths, and about how our lives, our histories and our destinies are interwoven. I am glad for the many new opportunities for friendship, honest exchange and the sharing of deep concerns and hopes that I have had with Muslim leaders in the last months. The National Council of Churches is steadfast in its commitment to build relations of integrity, trust and cooperation between Christians and Muslims in the United States, and is extending its educational work in this area. I hope that you in the Muslim community will help us Christians learn about Islam and the Muslim way of life.
Together, I know we will find ways to increase understanding of each other and to work cooperatively for justice and peace in neighborhoods and towns across our nation and around the world. Let us pray together. Let us be seen together. Together, let us model a new way of being faithful to our own traditions, and to our common life as citizens of one land and people of One God.
My deepest prayer -- as yours -- is for peace, and for justice. I wish you all God's blessings at this time and throughout the year.
Bob Edgar, General Secretary
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