April 1, 2004
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Cardinal George Pell and a prominent Muslim cleric from the United States led hundreds of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus here Thursday in a prayer for global peace and tolerance.
Worshippers packed St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney for the inter-faith prayer meeting featuring New York Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
Rauf told the gathering that in today's world people from all religious faiths, and even those with no religion, must talk and seek to understand their different points of view.
"O Almighty Creator, we call upon you to inspire all of us present to seek a deeper global commitment to world peace because in that commitment lies one of the purest paths to self-perfection and compassion and intimacy with you," he said.
The service was held as Australia grapples with terrorist threats from Muslim extremists, notably from the al-Qaeda network, and fears that Islamic terror cells could be active inside the country.
New South Wales state Premier Bob Carr welcomed Rauf's appeal as timely.
"I think it's been important for Australians from non-Islamic backgrounds to hear him and to hear his perspectives," he said.
"I think it's also important for our own Islamic community to hear from ... an American Muslim, speaking about the issues that confront the Islamic and non-Islamic world," he said.