ASIA/HOLY LAND - Ecology, "common ground" for the three Abrahamic religions

Jerusalem - In a world marked by the upsurge of fundamentalism and ethno-religious sectarianism, ecology arises as a possible area of convergence and cooperation among the different religious traditions, beginning with those that share the same origin in Abraham, father of all believers. This is the key message highlighted during the conference entitled "Faith and Ecology", held on Wednesday, October 22 in Jerusalem and co-organized by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Studium Theologicum Salesianum.
Several speeches were held by representative members of the three monotheistic religions present in the Holy Land. Among others, Fr. Biju Michael SDB, director of the Studium Theologicum Salesianum, gave an account of the growing interest in environmental issues developed in Catholic circles especially in the wake of the Magisterium of the recent Popes, with detailed references to St. John Paul II. Rabbi Michael Melchior highlighted the importance of his religious tradition in contributing to the preservation of Creation, even for the benefit of future generations. While Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, revived the biblical foundation of the integrity of Creation, referring to the story of Genesis.
Mgr. Shomali - as reported by the official sources of the Latin Patriarchate – recalled that water pollution in the Gaza Strip and in the region of Jerusalem is a real problem for the peoples of the Holy Land. Imam Wisam Bahrum exposed the Islamic perspective on environmental issues, interpreting the story of Noah and the Ark of the Covenant as an expression of the divine command to protect plants and animals. While the scholar Nurit Yaffe, of the Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo, on addressing environmental issues from a scientific perspective drew the urgency of global political choices inspired by the realization that "the resources we share on earth are limited" and some of them - such as oil - are not renewable. For this reason - he reiterated - all mankind is inevitably involved in issues related to the sustainable management of the environment, and also the various religious traditions find a potential ground for common action.