LONG BEACH – Close to 20 area religious leaders representing the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths met earlier this week to discuss ways in which the groups can support one another and promote peace. . .

“The unique aspect of this meeting, from our point of view, is that it did not come from a negative reaction but rather as a proactive approach to strengthening relationships among people of all faith groups in Long Beach,” said Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“We are working together to eliminate potential misperceptions, disagreements or maybe the impact of the current atmosphere of war, . . . and we’re looking at a preventative measure to ensure that the conflict overseas does not spill over into our local communities,” Ayloush said.

It is not known when the group will convene again, but all those interviewed by the Press-Telegram pledged to continue with the inter-faith dialogue.

“It took a while to get everybody’s schedule open for the first meeting, but it was definitely worthwhile,” Ayloush said. “Everybody came out feeling very positive, energized and hopeful. Many of us at the end wondered, ‘Why did it take so long to come up with such a great idea?”‘


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