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KC-area faith leaders gather to call for ceasefire in Gaza, ask Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids to take action

KSHB 41 spoke with voices on both sides of the ceasefire debate
Faith leaders address an empty seat representing Rep. Sharice Davids absence
Posted at 10:45 PM, Mar 09, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — People of various faiths gathered to shed tears and share their voices at the Prairie Village Baptist Church on Saturday; Muslim, Christian and Jewish faith leaders came together to demand Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat, call for a ceasefire in Gaza. She was out of town and unable to attend.

"I have lost over a hundred members of my family that I know of in the last five months," said Al-Hadaf KC member Maha Odah.

Maha Odah with Al-Hadaf KC tells her story at the event.

"This is not just unacceptable, it's horrifying," said Kansas Interfaith Action Executive Director Rabbi Moti Rieber, referring to the violence in Gaza.

Rabbi Moti Rieber, Kansas Interfaith Action

Reverend Dr. Jessica Williams works with the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice. She said all faith traditions teach the value of religion, and to work together for freedom for all people.

"The more that I listen to Palestinian leaders, the more that I've understood the devastating impact that this is having on families in Gaza," Williams said.

Rev. Dr. Jessica Williams with the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice

One of those leaders is Dr. Madji Hamarshi. He's Palestinian and part of the Palestinian American Medical Association, or PAMA. They work to deliver aid to Gaza. He played a video message from a doctor working in Gaza, detailing the gruesome things he has seen.

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"They keep saying one thing: if you ceasefire that will solve lots of problems," Dr. Hamarshi said. "Many of the things that you are doing, they're telling me, are ineffective, because killings are going on and hospitals are being flooded with injured or dying people."

Dr. Majdi Hamarshi, Palestinian American Medical Association

But for Gavriela Geller with the Jewish Community Relations Bureau, she believes a ceasefire may not be a simple solution.

"It is not on Israel to unilaterally surrender after an attack and a declaration of war like that," Geller said.

Geller said seeing the destruction in Israel and Gaza is heartbreaking, and the mission should be about getting rid of Hamas.

Gavriela Geller, Jewish Community Relations Bureau

"We would love this to end tomorrow. Israel is prepared to do that. Hamas is the one that refuses to do so," Geller said. "We need to get Hamas out of power. It is the only way for peace and security for Israelis, but it is the only way for peace and security for Gazans, as well."

It's a conflict that has divided the world, but many can agree on one thing: peace.

"We want people to pray for peace for the people in Gaza and Israel, and everywhere," Dr. Hamarshi said.

Peace was the main objective of those gathered at Prairie Village Baptist Church on Saturday.

"We all want peace, that's not the question here," Geller said. "The question is: How is that achieved?"