Voices

Reactions to the “Inter-Religious Vision of Peace”

 

 

Daniel Libeskind (architect, Jewish Museum Berlin), May 29th 2002:

“I deeply appreciate your letter to me and share with you your desire for Peace in the middle east – as a matter of fact I am to receive the HiroshimaCity Peace Prize 2002. I only hope that your idea gets momentum.”

 

Frank O. Gehry (architect, Museum Bilbao), June 4th and 8th 2002:

Your concept is certainly very interesting. I think your proposal for a New Temple is very timely. If I can find a way to help, I would be willing.”

 

Arnold Mindell (international mediator), June 9th 2002:

Thanks for your good work.

We shall mention your work to others interested in the Middle East.”

 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, June 11th 2002:

We appreciate the value of your request.”

 

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (physicist and philosopher), June 12th 2002:

Unfortunately, because of my age, I cannot become active any more for your plan.”

 

Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), June 17th 2002

We appreciate your fine intent and your creativity”

 

Odilo Lechner OSB (abbot), June 20th 2002:

The project ‘New Temple’ is a daring vision. Maybe it is too daring, because the decisive forces in Jerusalem hardly will be accessible for it in the foreseeable future. But possibly even the idea of a common project can bring people closer to one another. With many wishes for blessings to your endeavour.”

 

Foster and Partners (architects, Reichstag, the new parliament in Berlin), July 2nd, 2002

We wish you every success with your timely vision.”

 

Gershon Baskin (Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information [IPCRI]), July 4th 2002

I am sorry but I cannot support this concept at all.” Gershon Baskin

May I ask you why?” Gottfried Hutter

Simply put I think that making any changes on the temple mount is too explosive – just leave it alone.” GB

What would you say if Muslims would support the project?” GH

Go for it!”

 

Wolfgang Thierse (president of the German parliament), July 23rd 2002

Mr. Thierse wants to emphasize, that he expressly welcomes your reflections about the construction of a temple of all religions in Jerusalem. Especially before the background of continuing conflicts this would be, as you correctly state, an important place of unity for all confessions.”

 

Tadao Ando (Pritzker Architecture Prize 1995), July 30th 2002

Your concept is very interesting. Physically we are far from the Middle East especially from the battlefield of the long, complicated conflicts between Israel and Palestine but their sufferings and distress are always close with us. We have to think a great deal of our earth and cherish our small planet. Thank you for your effort.”

 

The German Christian-Democratic Party (official statement), July 31st 2002

Even if your vision would not be realized on a 1:1 basis, it will stimulate further thoughts and proposals, promoting the dialogue of religions, cultures, and peoples in the Middle East and that way contribute to a stable peace in the Middle East – in the Holy Land.”

 

Alex Chance, Speaker of the Archbishop of Canterbury, September 5, 2002, and January 7, 2003

Your vision for the Tempel Projekt sounds most interesting”

We will certainly keep it in mind if and when discussions reach an appropriate stage”

 

Prof. Douglas RushkoffProfessor of Communications at New York University, author of “Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism.” November 21st 2002

Looks fascinating”

 

Asher Ochana, then Israeli Minister for Religious Affairs, December 8th 2002

very interesting“

 

Amram Mitzna, former Mayor of Haifa and head of the Labor Party of Israel, December 10th 2002

He feels reassured in his policy of tolerance and mutual respect for all

 

Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, Head of the Vatican Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, December 19th 2002

The proposal can be „useful to create opinion“ among the three religions

 

Rabbi David Rosen, President of the ICCJ, international organisation for dialogue between Jews and Christians, December 15th 2002

a wonderful, wonderful idea“

 

Arab Educational Institute, March 19, 2003

Your vision for peace in the Middle East and worldwide seems to the AEI very good and encouraging step for a better future.”

 

Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi, Red Crescent, Gaza Strip, March 22, 2003

Thank you for your cordial and illuminating message, which I hope all of us Moslems Christians and Jews should ponder.”

 

Abrahamspost” – Notes for the  “Friends of Abraham – Freunde Abrahams e.V.” Spring/Summer 2003

Reference to the peace proposal at http://www.kaththeol.uni-muenchen.de/biblisch/at1/AP2.html

 

Vinay K. Bhargava, Vice President of The World Bank, Director, International Affairs April 2, 2003

“…presents some intriguing possibilities for interfaith dialogue… We wish you every success in all of your important endeavors.”

 

Dr. Odilo Lechner OSB, Abbot of St. Bonifaz Munich, April 5, 2003

It is a fascinating idea, to make this unity visible symbolically in the torn and contested city of Jerusalem. I wish very much, that you will succeed inspiring many people with this image of peace.”

 

Prof. Dr. Dr. Karl-Josef Kuschel, Vice President of the Global Ethic Foundation, May 12, 2003

With pleasure I confirm that I find your initiative for an agreement between the three Abrahamic religions, expressed in the symbol of the dome of the rock, to be necessary, even imperative, in view of the situation of the world …, your ideas – especially concerning the dome of the rock – are identical with my own.”

 

Dr. Anselm Grün OSB, Münsterschwarzach, May 27, 2003

“… it is an annoyance to see exactly the religions that deduce themselves from Abraham fighting against each other, instead of engaging themselves together  for peace in the world. In so far I wish your vision good success. A vision can change the way of thinking and from thinking comes a new way to act.”

 

Charlotte Knobloch, Vice President of the Central Council of the Jews in Germany, June 18, 2003

[thanks fort his] „outstanding proposal for peace for the Holy Land“.

 

Friedrich Ebert Foundation, division for the Near and Middle East, Hajo Lanz, July 17, 2003

Your proposal shows a deep understanding of the historical, complex, and today not least religiously founded causes for the continuing conflict situations in the Middle East. The temple-project you describe surely may be called visionary and at the same time revolutionary.”

 

Prof. Dr. W. Michael Blumenthal, Director of the Jewish Museum, Berlin, August 21, 2003

Many thanks for sending your concept for a spiritual symbol of the common heritage of the three great religions. If realized, it would certainly be a powerful factor to promote understanding and peace.”

 

Prof. Bob Wright, visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Sept. 25, 2003

I do believe that in the long run some such conceptual reconciliation of the Abrahamic faiths could play a constructive role in the Middle East and indeed in the whole world. And, though your project may strike some as unrealistically ambitious in the context of current politics, religious history certainly features comparably dramatic changes of perspective.”

 

Prof. Dr. Manfred Görg, Chair of Old Testament Studies, University of Munich, November 13, 2003

 “The temple-vision of the Munich theologian Gottfried Hutter in my eyes is a legitimate continuation or re-establishment of the old prophetic tradition of Exodus 26-40, of Ezechiel40-48, of Sacharja 6-8, and also of the temple-scroll of Qumran. There always has been a continuing effort in Israel to contemplate an ideal temple … and so it is truly legitimate today … to further develop the approach Israel itself has supplied.”

 

David Bornstein, Author of “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas”, December 23, 2003

Thanks for telling me about your work in the middle east. Good luck with your work.”

 

PROF. M. S. SWAMINATHAN, UNESCO Cousteau Chair in Ecotechnology & Chairman, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, INDIA, December 27, 2003

Thank you for your Vision for Peace in the Middle East.  We urgently need peace and human security.  Let us pray for a peaceful and happy world during 2004.”
[Prof. M S Swaminathan has been acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of the only three from India, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.]

 

Karen Armstrong [Author of books on many of the world’s religions] January 13, 2004

I had not heard of the initiative but am delighted to know about it. All good wishes. Karen Armstrong”

 

Dr. C. Werntgen, Secretary of the Udo Keller Foundation “Forum Humanum”, Hamburg, March 11, 2004

We fully admire the courage and the creativity, by which you complement the range of the pragmatic approaches to peace by a spiritual dimension. The space you open up with your systematic anamnesis of the Abrahamitic origin of the parties involved in the conflict is inspiring in a literal sense. So isn’t it a salutary sign already that such a process of reflection today not only is possible, but finds such worldwide resonance encroaching all parties?

May the spiritual ecumenism of this idea grow with care and find a good way to blend into the complex mosaic of pragmatic politics.

 

Prof. Dr. h.c. Horst Teltschik, Host of the Munich Conference on Security Policy, March 18, 2004

Your peace proposal for the Middle East is extraordinarily impressive and very unusual.

 

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, Islamic Supreme Council of America, March 24, 2004

We pray for your continued success.

 

Alan SEATTER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Near East Head of Unit, March 29, 2004

Pursuing the idea in a spiritual sense has the potential of contributing to the search for peace which is common to all three monotheistic religions

 

Dr. Rainer Gepperth, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Munich, April 22, 2004

Your proposal to make peace in the Middle East, which is based on a reconciliation of the religions, we regard as most interesting and welcome.

 

Gisela Lehnhof for the German Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily, May 6, 2004

I have read your letter with great attention and want to thank you for your remarkable proposal and state the assent, that the religious core-statement of your paper as approach to a solution of the Middle East problem also is seen by the federal government.

 

Nonie Darwish – board member of the Mid East Education Team, June 11, 2004

What a beautiful symbol of the unity of the three religions in Jerusalem. Sometimes physical symbols like that encourage the change of hearts and minds.

 

Prof. Dr Nasr Abû Zayd, Ibn Rushd Chair of Humanism and Islam, June 20, 2004

Your vision, theologically speaking, is based on Qur’anic recognition of the legacy of Abraham as the founder of “ISLAM” as a categorical concept integrating all that came after him. Thus, your project is precisely illustrating this theological Muslim’s proposition.

 

Ephraim Kishon, 24. June 2004

Your beautiful Temple-Project hopefully will be realized some day still in the time of the coming generation.

 

Professor Marc H. Ellis, Baylor University, June 25, 2004

thank you very much for sending me your vision for peace proposal.  as a jew, i am always glad to hear of those who seek to construct peace based on political and religious justice with christians and muslims.

 

Professor Dr. Dov Shinar, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, 11. July 2004

I must express my admiration for initiatives like yours … I wish that all of us could embark together in an effort to transform the conflict into some manageable phenomenon.

 

Dr. J. Harold Ellens, Editor of the recent four-volume handbook on “The Destructive Power of Religion. Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam”, Praeger 2003, August 6, 2004:

There can be no doubt about the fact that the central source of international conflict today is the unresolved violence between the Israeli and Palestinians, which has become the cause celebre for the violent rise of Islamic Fundamentalism world wide.  Unless this matter is resolved the worldwide conflict will not be resolved because responsible Islam will not be able to win its ideological battle against Islamic Fundamentalists, the only way resolution of the matter will finally come about.  Thus your proposal is enormously important.  Your project can become the essential symbol and symbolic act necessary (1) to strengthen the hand of responsible Islam in its civil war with its Fundamentalists, (2) to corral the preemptive violence of the hard-line Israeli and thus strengthen the forces for peace and accommodation within Israel by focusing their energy on this constructive effort toward comity, and (3) to undercut American Christian Fundamentalism in its support of bellicose Israeli in an attempt to precipitate the battle of Armageddon and their anticipated return of Christ as Judge.  If your project can succeed it will, therefore, enhance the spiritual and material wholesomeness of grace-filled forms of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, for which we shall all rejoice.

 

Hans Harald Willberg, Ecumenical Network Bavaria, September 23, 2004:

Finally, a vision of a real solution and not only complaining about the unsolvable – or only violently solvable – solution. Will it be taken up by the responsible people? I would hope it will.

 

Edward M. Kennedy, United States Senator, November 5, 2004:

… I wish you luck in your endeavors. As I continue to closely monitor the situation in the Middle East I will be sure to keep your sentiments in mind. … Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of service to you in the future.

 

The Most Reverend Desmond M TutuAnglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, November 11, 2004:

Thank you for writing to me to share your vision for peace in Palestine and Israel. It is a bold initiative and deserves to succeed.

 

Prof. Dr. Eugen Drewermann, theologian, psychotherapist, author, January 12, 2005

Your idea is excellent

 

Daniel Libeskind (architect, Jewish Museum Berlin, New World Trade Center New York), March 4th 2005:

Once again, allow me to share with you my profound admiration both for your vision of peace and your proposal for a “temple in Jerusalem”.

 

Zaha Hadid (Iraqi Architect, first female Pritzker Prize Laureate), March 17, 2005, wishes for the panel discussion with top level representatives of the three Abrahamitic religions in April 2005:

I would like to wish you every success for a stimulating and interesting session

 

Felicia Langer Jur., Human-Rights-Attorney, Israel/Germany, Right-Livelihood-Award 1990, June 14th 2005:

The initiative of tolerance and understanding between religions as developed by you appeals to me very much.

 

Moshe Safdie, architect of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, August 10, 2005:

I am completely sympathetic to your objectives and indeed, in reading through your text, one has a feeling of the Messiah’s coming

 

George Khleifi, director of Al Quds Educational TV, Al Quds University, East-Jerusalem/Ramallah, September 20, 2005:

Thank you for sending your proposal. It is an original and interesting way to see the solution.

Yehuda Stolov, The Interfaith Encounter Association, Jerusalem, November 11, 2005:

I appreciate very much your work. I do hope all of us together will make a significant contribution to a peaceful solution and to coexistence in the Holy Land.

 

Richard Rohr, O.F.M., author, New Mexico, January 27, 2006:

Thank you for sharing your brilliant proposal with me.  It is so well written and so faithfully conceived. … Your explanation of enlightenment and the secular mind and separation of religion and state is especially clear and true, I think. … The central symbol … could be in that sense a “sacrament” …

 

Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Sacraments, 31. Januar 2007

I pray that God may bless this project if it is his will

 

Dr. Reuven Moskovitz, Historian, Co-Founder of the Peace Village Neve Shalom, Peace Price Aachen 2003, 10. Februar 2007

… Your project is too beautiful and sublime to reach this world, which is going cold, serving the Mammon and not the God of the Abrahamite religions … I wish you much success, because the world dearly is in need of such a message.

 

Professor Abdullahi Ahmed an-Na’im, Emory Law School, Atlanta, Ga,  originally from Sudan, specialist in Human Rights, Comparative and Islamic Law, June 3rd, 2008:

I am personally convinced that this is an excellent solution to this dimension of the conflict … Resolution of the Temple Mount issue is the key to facilitating workable resolution of other issues [e.g. settlements, allocation of water and economic resources, return of refugees and Jewish immigration]. … It is therefore important to explain this point in the proposal itself. Otherwise, people may dismiss this proposal as too narrow and unrealistic. … I will keep thinking about how to promote this wonderful vision.

 

Dr. Juergen Todenhoefer, second chairman of Burda Media, Munich, June 4th, 2008:

Herr Dr. Todenhöfer dankt Ihnen herzlich für Ihren Brief … Er findet Ihre Idee super.

Mr. Todenhöfer wishes to thank you cordially for your letter … Your idea he sees as superb.

 

Dr. Martin Schneller, former German Ambassador to Jordan, December 19th, 2009:

In my view, your conceptional approach is wonderful, from a political, a legal, an economic and also from a religious perspective. … the existing traumatisms in both societies can be overcome only by looking ahead. … Also, the idea of a New Temple next to the existing Islamic and Christian sanctuaries, which would reinstall Jerusalem into its proper assignment of being the symbolic capital of the three Abrahamitic religions, can only be agreed upon.

 

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Nazareth, Israel, February 11th, 2010

I believe that your vision for peace is not only worthy but also timely

 

Michael Verhoeven, Film Director, May 10, 2010:

… it is about fundamentalist positions; they cannot be suspended by the mere will to peace …

The „pan-Abrahamic“ Temple idea can take place as a result of the establishment of peace, not as a precondition. Your thoughts deserve recognition and can be important as part of the inter-cultural dialogue.

 

Dr Ibrahim Negm, Special Advisor of the Grand Mufti of Egypt, April 16th, 2011:

Please accept our highest consideration for your great work. Many thanks.

 

Joachim GauckPresident of the Federal Republic of Germany, July 24th, 2012:

Der interreligiösen Friedensvision für das Heilige Land und Ihrem Projekt wünscht der Bundespräsident alles Gute.

The President of the Federal Republic wishes the very best for your inter-religious vision of peace for the Holy Land and for your project.