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ALLIANCE HOSTS JEWISH AND MUSLIM ROUNDTABLES ON HUNGER AS PART OF BREAD FOR THE WORLD INTERFAITH EVENT

On June 11, 2007, The Alliance to End Hunger hosted roundtable discussion with Muslim and Jewish religious and non-profit leaders to discuss how their respective communities could engage in hunger advocacy.

H. Eric Schockman, Ph.D., President of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, moderated a group that included rabbis from around the country, as well as leading Jewish advocacy, humanitarian and social justice organizations, such as American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the Jewish Council on Public Affairs (JCPA) and the Religious Action Center (RAC).  As a result of their participation in the meeting, JCPA became a member of the Alliance in the fall of 2007.

The roundtable of Muslim religious and humanitarian leaders included Islamic Relief (IR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).  Participants expressed a desire for a hunger advocacy resource for the Islamic community, so the Alliance developed the Ramadan – Hunger Awareness, Action and Advocacy Kit.  The Ramadan resource was distributed to approximately 500,000 people through various organizations. Islamic Relief joined the Alliance following the roundtable event and is expanding their work on hunger.

Following the roundtables, Alliance members and guests joined with Bread for the World activists from around the country for the Second Interfaith Convocation on Hunger at the Washington National Cathedral. The Convocation attracted nearly 1,000 worshippers from 45 states. Leaders of a broad array of faith traditions—including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim groups—urged an abiding commitment to bring "bread to those who are hungry, and hunger for justice to those who have bread."

Rev. William J. Shaw, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, challenged participants: “Who will bring the poor in this nation and around the world to the attention of … the people of plenty?” Imam Mohamed Magid, executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, and Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America told worshippers of a visit to a Sudanese refugee camp in the 1980s. He arrived with relief supplies, but a young woman informed him, “You are too late. The babies have died.” Magid urged participants: “Let us vow together to never be late again.”

Prior to the Convocation, the Alliance to End Hunger, Bread for the World, and RESULTS jointly hosted the National Leaders' Forum on Hunger and Poverty.  Republican Senator Chuck Hagel and former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr., Chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, were the keynote speakers at the event. Alliance member RESULTS brought their international conference participants to join in the event, bringing the audience to more than 800 people.

 
Princess Basma bint Talas and Ms. Eva Clayton
David Beckmann, President of the Alliance Against Hunger, and other religious leaders attend the Interfaith Convocation on Hunger.
 
Boys in Jordan
Max Finberg, Director of the Alliance Against Hunger, speaks with Muslim leaders at the Interfaith Convocation on Hunger.