The Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council is a collaborative environment for people of faith to pursue peace and justice together. We grieve the deadly October 7 assault on Israel and the many innocent lives taken by the terrorizing actions of Hamas. We further grieve the spiral of violence once again ignited by these actions, the resulting loss of innocent Palestinian lives, and the devastation brought to Gaza. We recognize that Hamas does not represent all Gazans, and the Israeli government does not reflect the wishes of all Israelis, let alone all Jews.

We call upon all parties to exercise restraint and to pursue an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation of this conflict.

We call attention to the illuminating awareness of the 8th-century BCE Israelite Prophet Isaiah: “Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Divine, to the house of the G-d of Jacob; that he may teach us the holy ways and that we may walk in the

Divine paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instruction… The Holy One shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3-4). We similarly lift up the teaching of the 6th-century CE Islamic Light of Guidance, the Prophet Muhammad, who taught: “No one shall become a true believer until they desire for their siblings what they desire for themselves.” (Hadith 13, 40 Hadith an-Nawawi).

In Santa Monica and beyond, our Interfaith Council is committed to forging relationships based on love, mutuality, respect, multireligious exchange, and multicultural appreciation. We hope to model among ourselves the quality of relationships that we would like to see fostered in our larger world. We condemn anti-Semitism and Islamophobia here and abroad. We will continue to advocate for human rights, uphold the dignity of humanity, acknowledge the oneness of humankind, and promote the eradication of violence and prejudice of all kinds. We hope you will join us in these values and commitments.

Leadership Team, Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council