The Interfaith Climate Change Forum

Shared Earth, Common Destiny: Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Leaders Speak Out on the Environment Interfaith Environmental Forum sees launch of Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development Jerusalem

– July 25th, 2011: Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders today spoke out on environmental issues on a joint panel at an Interfaith Environmental Forum in Jerusalem. The panelists, members of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, were Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Deputy Minister of the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Religious Affairs Haj Salah Zuheika, and American Jewish Committee International Director of Inter-religious Affairs Rabbi David Rosen. The Forum also saw the launch of the new Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Prolonged drought, the recent fires in the north, the drying up of rivers, and significant ecological changes all underscore the Holy Land’s particular vulnerability to environmental changes. The Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL) recently endorsed a Holy Land Declaration on Climate Change, which articulates a religious call, based on the respective teachings of the Abrahamic faiths, for action to address climate change. For the Declaration text, go to

Rabbi Rosen said, “Our responsibility to future generations is a cardinal tenet of our respective religious heritages.”

Bishop Shomali said, “We are accountable for how we use this Earth. The earth is like our home, and those who live in the same home should know how to live together. The main religions should study ecological issues together because we have a common destiny. We need to put all of our energies together to solve the environmental crisis, which is ethical, moral, and spiritual.”

Haj Zuheika spoke about the roots of environmental awareness in the Koran, and contemporary environmental challenges in the Middle East.

The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development promotes the cooperation and training of religious leaders, teachers, and seminary students on environmental and human sustainability. More information about its projects is available on the website Its director, Rabbi Yonatan Neril, said, “This event shows how religions can be a force for positive change in the world.” The CRIHL represents the high religious authorities of the Holy Land: the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Palestinian Ministry of Religious Affairs (Waqf), the Palestinian Sharia Courts and the assembly of the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem.

The event was held at The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.

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