In much of the world, today marks the beginning of Ramadan, a 30-day period for fasting, reflection, prayer and charity. The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, also began this week. I am neither Muslim nor Jewish, but my hope is that each religion - including Christianity - shuns the politics of division and looks to the true meaning of their faiths, to forge a path of reconciliation and peace. This is particularly important in Jerusalem and in the West Bank and Gaza, where Arabs and Israelis share a long and troubled history. I've written this previously, but it bears repeating: the late King Hussein of Jordan and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel ultimately came to the same conclusion - either the Arabs and Israelis learn to live together, or they will die together. This philosophy applies to us all.
Perhaps during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslim clerics will reiterate that the policies of killings, kidnappings, suicide bombings and sectarian violence adopted by extremist and terrorist groups - in the name of Islam - go against every single tenet of Islam. Those people who perpetuate violent and deadly acts around the world are criminals and murderers, not martyrs destined for heavenly reward. No religion endorses such barbarous and inhuman behaviour.
Peace. Paix. Assalam alaikum. Shalom. Paz. Vrede. Pace. Frieden.