Australian Jews, Christians and Muslims commemorate 20th Anniversary of 9/11 together

September 13, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Within days of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York and Washington, Jewish, Muslim and Christian Australians arranged a well-attended multifaith service of prayer and reflection in central Sydney.

Rabbi David Freedman

A year later, representatives of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims & Jews (ANDCMJ) from the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), The Australian Federation of Islamic Council (AFIC) and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry met for a morn of  reflection in Sydney’s Alexandra Mosque.

On Saturday evening, a service of prayer and reflection marking the 20thAnniversary took place, held online due to public health restrictions.

Jeremy Jones, Director of International and of Community Affairs of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), one of the organisers of the 2001 and 2002 gatherings, opened the session with brief comments on dialogue and mutual support, before reading the widely reported statement he made together with Rev. David Gill of the NCCA and Amjad Meboub of AFIC in September 2001.

Jeremy Jones

The statement emphasised both grief and horror and called on Australians “to respond to the terrible events by strengthening the ties of faith and mutual respect that bind us together. Our compassion for the victims and our horror at the inhumane deeds must not become an excuse for hatred or bigotry or be exploited by those who seek to divide us on the basis of religion or ethnic origin.”

Two other foundation members of the ANDCMJ, Sheik Amin Hady and Sister Patricia Madigan, read prayers from their traditions, followed by Rabbi David Freedman.

Rabbi Freedman emphasised that this commemoration was taking place between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, reciting the opening verses from Psalm 27, which is part of daily prayers of penitence in this period. He then blew the shofar, having earlier explained its significance.

Melinda Jones

Other reflections and prayers followed, with Melinda Jones, President of the National Council of Jewish Women in Australia, outlining the Jewish belief that to destroy one life is to destroy an entire world, emphasising the cruelty of the terrorists and the importance of emphasising the value of each individual.

Jeremy Jones concluded the commemoration with reading from a prayer written by Rabbi John L Rosove, specifically compiled for commemorations of the September 11 event.

“The participants from the three faiths each contributed to a dignified and meaningful event, with heartfelt reflection and inspiring prayers”, Jeremy Jones said.

“The diversity represented during the online service allowed each of us to not just share our reflections but learn, in the most authentic way, about the face of our fellow Australians” he concluded.


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