COLUMBIA — Members of the Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation spoke out Monday against the current round of fighting in the Mideast.
Area religious leaders and experts on the Middle East made their feelings known during a press conference at the Missouri United Methodist Church.
"This is not struggle of religion; it is not an armed conflict over two sides," George Smith, an MU professor of biology who has studied the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said. "This is a struggle of human rights."
Leaders urged the U.S. to come to the table and call for a cease-fire. The fighting, which has been ongoing for 21 days,has been the cause of death for 1,050 Palestinians, 52 Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side, according to AP reporting on Monday.
"I come here to say let's stop the conflict," the Rev. C.W. Dawson Jr. said. "We need a truce. We need to quit killing our babies."
There were 11 people in attendance at the conference. The leaders agreed that though this conflict is distant from U.S. borders, it's imperative that citizens pay attention as the grief it causes may be closer to home than some think.
"We know people, they're your neighbors, they're your colleagues, you meet them at the grocery store, you see them at the coffee house, they are professors at the university," the Rev. Carl Kenney, interim associate pastor and adjunct journalism professor at MU, said. "They live here; they're from there. This is our story."