As death tolls in the Gaza Strip continued to rise over the weekend, Muslims and Jews in Tucson marched to promote understanding and peace on a local level.
The Muslim Jewish PeaceWalk has been recognized with proclamations by the governor's office, the Pima County Board of Supervisors, the mayor's office and the Human Relations Commission. March 2 was declared as Tucson's Muslim Jewish PeaceWalk Day.
Nina Trasoff, a Tucson City Councilwoman said proclamations don't carry substance but provide a spirit of support and public acknowledgement that helps promote worthy causes.
"This always gives me hope in the future," Trasoff said. "It is not just Muslims and Jews here working together for peace, but people of all faiths."
The walkers gathered at the Islamic Center of Tucson, 901 E. First St., at 1 p.m., and walked nearly three miles to the Congregation Ner Tamid's (Water of Life Campus) 3269 N. Mountain Ave.
"As elected officials, we need to step up and support events like these and say 'this is what we need as a community, for our state and for the world,'" Trasoff said.
Trasoff has participated in the PeaceWalk since its first year.
Imam Farid Farooqi welcomed the crowd and recited a Quranic prayer that promoted tolerance and justice on earth. A Jewish prayer with a similar message was also recited and Rabbi Thomas Louchheim of the Congregation Or Chadash blew a traditional Jewish ram's horn to signify the importance of the event. . .
Hosam Risha, the executive director of the Arizona Chapter Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he hoped government leaders would learn from citizens' ability to get together for the purpose of building peaceful relations.
"If we are going to leave the next generation with anything, let it be causes like this," he said. "We don't want them to inherit death and destruction but peace and the importance of collaboration."