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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Walk urges peace among faiths

    Members of the Jewish and Muslim communities participate in the Peace Walk yesterday afternoon near downtown Tucson.
    Members of the Jewish and Muslim communities participate in the Peace Walk yesterday afternoon near downtown Tucson.

    Participants of different faiths walked to show their support for peace between religions at the fourth annual Jewish-Muslim Peace Walk yesterday.

    “”We (participants) are just making a simple statement that we believe in peace,”” said Tricia Pethic, a Near Eastern studies graduate student and a member of the Muslim Student Association.

    Gov. Janet Napolitano spoke before the walk. Tucson city Councilwoman Nina Trasoff was also in attendance and read a proclamation from Mayor Bob Walkup recognizing the event.

    “”This is a time, if ever there was one, that we need to come together,”” said Trasoff, who has attended the walk every year as a member of the Jewish community.

    Trasoff said people of Jewish and Muslim faiths should be at peace with one another because they share the same heritage.

    The Peace Walk included activities and food beforehand and a short ceremony to set off the walkers. Passages from the Torah and the Quran were read and promoted unity.

    “”Basically, I think we are all one people,”” said Tzadik Rosen-Green, who teaches for the Hillel Center and is a community organizer. “”It’s about finding our unity.””

    Participants walked from the Stone Avenue Temple, 564 S. Stone Ave., to Armory Park, 220 S. Sixth Ave., where they participated in dancing, music and crafts. The walk continued to the Islamic Center of Tucson, 901 E. First St., where dinner was served.

    Carol Kestler, a Peace Walk organizer, estimated that 350 to 400 people participated.

    Some participants wore traditional Muslim, Jewish, Tibetan or American Indian clothing. Members from other faiths also joined the walk.

    “”The purpose is to walk together and get to know each other,”” Kestler said.

    The annual Peace Walk began in light of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when members of the community realized they needed interfaith programs to understand each other, said Fayez Swailem, a research associate professor of radiology and a Peace Walk organizer.

    “”(The Peace Walk is) to realize we are one, to realize we are all living in the same community,”” Swailem said, adding that it it is not limited to members of the Jewish or Muslim faiths.

    Pre-walk festivities included laying “”peace”” rocks beneath a fountain and participating in problem-solving games, all sponsored by donations. Organizers encouraged people to talk with one another throughout the event.

    “”I think it’s a good idea because it gives us an opportunity to discuss the Abrahamic truths we all share,”” Pethic said.

    Mitchell Kamen distributed “”peace”” buttons, which he has done for more than 20 years. So far, he has given out about 10,000.

    “”These helped legalize a peace flier in Israel for the first time,”” Kamen said.

    Next year’s Peace Walk will include a series of events by UApresents, including a speaker series and concerts.

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