Interfaith call for a ceasefire and lasting peace in the Middle East

12 March 2024

As Christians observe Lent and Muslims prepare to celebrate Ramadan, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) joins the Islamic Religious Community of Italy (COREIS) in urging a radical return to the core teachings of our respective religions, which exhorts loving unity over division, while respecting differences, and fostering constant dignity to the life of every person.

We make this appeal for an immediate and indefinite ceasefire in Gaza and the unconditional release of all hostages abducted on 7 October 2023 in Israel. The commitment to nurture and heal our shared humanity prompts us to mourn and pray for every single victim of the terrible violence that prevails around the world, no matter their background.

During this season of prayer and fasting, we appeal to believers and all people of goodwill to uphold the shared humanity that is so dear to our faiths and especially to redouble efforts to bring about an immediate and lasting cessation of violence of all kinds in Gaza that will allow Jews, Christians and Muslims to fully experience the sacred benefit of Lent and Ramadan, the religious holidays of Eid al-fitr, Easter and Pesach.

JRS and COREIS hope that not only will the incessant suffering of innocents cease, but that a space for dialogue and mutual security might become possible. To this end, we urge all political actors, governments and others, to actively support a ceasefire and the opening of such spaces for those who can imagine a non-violent future today.

And we call for all the possible support to courageous and prophetic people experiencing the violence in their own lives who can still think of such a future for everyone in the region. They are the actors who should be heard and strengthened in this situation.

Together we stand in solidarity with the victims of violence and join their pleas for peace and respect for the humanity we share.

Together we continue to be inspired by the words of Pope Francis and Imam Ahmad al-Tayyeb in the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together (2019), which promotes “the adoption of a culture of dialogue as a path; mutual cooperation as a code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.” This document condemns “terrorism” as “deplorable” because it “threatens the security of people, be they in the East or the West, the North or the South, and disseminates panic, terror and pessimism, but this is not due to religion, even when terrorists instrumentalize it. It is due, rather, to an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts and to policies linked to hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression and pride. This is why it is so necessary to stop supporting terrorist movements fueled by financing, the provision of weapons and strategy, and by attempts to justify these movements even using the media. All these must be regarded as international crimes that threaten security and world peace. Such terrorism must be condemned in all its forms and expressions.”


Brother Michael Schöpf SJ, JRS International Director

Imam Yahya Pallavicini, Vicepresident, COREIS

Father Daniel Corrou SJ, JRS Middle East Director

Prof. Abd al-Haqq Guiderdoni, Vicepresident, COREIS