The Dome of the Rock, Islam’s third holiest site, rests on the very spot where the Second Temple stood. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher lies a stone’s throw away. Such a concentration of holiness creates two possibilities. Jerusalem will either ignite an explosion that will turn the world upside down. Or Jerusalem will teach us how to live in peace. Visitors to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a retaining wall for the Second Temple, often write important notes and insert them into crevices in the Wall. If God did so, the note might say: “O, Jerusalem, holy city, you have seen enough blood. Let my children finally grant you peace.” We are all created in God’s image. We pray to the same God. God doesn’t want us to kill one another—over Jerusalem, or anything else.
Jerusalem, it has been said, is not a single city but a multitude of cities “built over the same spot, operating at the same moment, and contending for hegemony.”* And within that multitude of cities dwell adherents of the world’s monotheistic religions, living on top of one another—and too often striving with each other. One hopes for religious leaders audacious enough to advance interreligious dialogue. One hopes as well for a thriving Christian community engaged in the imperative of peace-making and interreligious/inter-cultural dialogue.
Jerusalem is an Abrahamic city, sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews. To Muslims, it is called al Quds – noble, sacred, or Bait al Maqdas – a sacred house or place. Our hopes are that interfaith dialogue will take root in Jerusalem to bring peace and harmony among the Abrahamic people. We hope for lasting peace there through the implementation of a U.N. Resolution to promote peaceful coexistence among the three monotheistic faiths.