Letter to the editor published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, May 19, 2015
The recent announcement that the Vatican has officially recognized Palestine should be welcome news to those who support peace and justice for all in the Middle East (“Vatican recognizes ‘state of Palestine’,” May 14). The Holy See’s recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people follows the historic meeting last summer when Pope Francis brought Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas together at the Vatican for a “Prayer Summit for Peace.”
These actions, along with the pontiff’s leadership in fighting poverty, condemning racism, promoting interfaith relations, and warning of the dangers of human-caused climate change to the entire planet, have endeared Pope Francis to billions of people around the world, including many in the Muslim world.
This is why the Philadelphia Muslim community will be joining hundreds of thousands of its neighbors in welcoming Pope Francis to the city in September. How fortunate and blessed we will be to be a part of this momentous event.
Jacob Bender, executive director, Philadelphia chapter, Council on American Islamic Relations