Syria is lost in the headlines these days. Political conventions, hurricanes, and scandals compete for our attention. In the meantime, the bloodshed in Syria continues.
Religions for Peace recently reported on a meeting of religious scholars, both Muslim and Christian, who met in Cairo on August 29. Coming from that meeting was the Cairo statement: "Rightful Cries to Cease Bloodshed in Syria."The following is a portion of that statement:
"We reject the widespread killings and oppression in Syria and call upon the Syrian army to return to their barracks and all armed groups of the opposition to stop killing. We call for the release of all political prisoners and abductees and appeal to states and international organizations to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced, refugees and medical treatment for war-injured people."
These religious leaders cry out against the brutal destruction of cultural and human heritage and against acts of abduction, extortion, arbitrary arrests, and threats.
What can we do? I believe it is important to urge our elected leaders to provide needed humanitarian aid and avoid engaging in the war. This would further escalate causalities. As people of faith we can commit to praying for the people of Syria. Recalling a line from the Gospel of Matthew: "This evil can only be cast out by prayer and fasting." Can we commit to fasting one day a week for an end to the violence in Syria?
Fasting for justice has a long and powerful history. I believe that this practice internalizes the belief that when one is touched by injustice, we are all touched.