The Abrahamic Peace Center

In 2007, as part of MIT’s Jerusalem 2050 Program competition, the Abrahamic Peace Centre was advanced for consideration by Tony Neesham.

*Christian, Islamic and Judaic harmony is integral to the development of a just, peaceful and sustainable Jerusalem. Accordingly, it is proposed the Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) be constructed, on or before 2050, as a point of peaceful convergence between the three Abrahamic religions which characterise and dominate Jerusalem.

It is envisaged the Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) will give prominence to the historic and moral commonality of *Christianity, Islam and Judaism without in anyway negating or, indeed, diminishing the unique qualities and identity of each religion; the intention of the Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) is not religious unification – it is religious, ethnic and civil harmonization within Jerusalem.

I will take this opportunity to briefly articulate the proposed physical construction of the Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) as demonstrated in the accompanying diagram. The central structure of the Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) consists of a dome which will be predominantly, or perhaps even entirely, glass to emphasise openness and a striving for light and peace amongst visitors; whether the term worshippers is appropriate will be an interesting and significant point of discussion for a balanced and learned group at a later stage.

The interior of the Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) will be strictly neutral and in no way favour any single one of the three Abrahamic religions which characterise and dominate Jerusalem. It is proposed a circular table upon which a candle of peace is constantly alight be elevated at the centre of the dome.

Abrahamic Peace Centre

Encircling the central, strictly neutral elevation, there should be an area of seating and, if considered prudent to encourage worship, there could also be an area for pews and prayer mats too. The overriding priority must be to ensure the central dome of the Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) does not alienate or offend the sensibilities of any one of the three Abrahamic religions which characterise and dominate Jerusalem. An unwavering determination to ensure balance and even-handedness between the three religions must be a prime focus.

It is further proposed a garden surround the central dome providing a space of natural tranquility. Surrounding the dome and garden a hexagonal construction would be created to act as an aesthetic delineator. Connected to three separated sides of the hexagonal construction, a *Church, Mosque and Synagogue would be linked via three passages of peace. The passages would connect to the rear of the *Church, Mosque and Synagogue as demonstrated in the accompanying diagram.

The construction of the *Church, Mosque and Synagogue would necessitate attunement to the sensibilities of the varying denominations, groups and sects which exist within the three Abrahamic religions which characterise and dominate Jerusalem; the *Church would neither favour *Orthodox, Protestant nor Roman Catholic, the Mosque would neither favour *Shi’ite, Sufi nor Sunni, and the Synagogue would neither favour *Conservative, Orthodox nor Reform. The *Church, Mosque and Synagogue would each aim to accommodate a broad spectrum of *Christian, Jewish and Muslim worshippers, and would therefore have a simple and generic internal and external appearance. This will naturally involve stripping away any symbolism likely to offend or discourage denominations, groups or sects within the three Abrahamic religions.

The three remaining sides of the hexagonal construction surrounding the central Dome could act as exits and perhaps one side could act as an entrance for people not affiliated to the three Abrahamic religions which characterise and dominate Jerusalem. This, however, is proposed as no more than an interesting point of discussion and perhaps investigation at a later stage.

By highlighting the common history and moral characteristics of the three Abrahamic religions which characterise and dominate Jerusalem, but in no way negating or diminishing the unique qualities and identity of each religion, it is hoped the Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) will foster deeper respect and understanding between the people of Jerusalem. Undoubtedly, *Christian, Islamic and Judaic harmony is integral to the development of a just, peaceful and sustainable Jerusalem.

Today, there are approximately 3.8 billion followers of the various Abrahamic religions throughout the world (Preston Hunter, Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents), hence Abrahamic religions account for more than half the world’s total population. Furthermore, a UN report predicts the world’s population will be approximately 9 billion by the year 2050 which indicates a parallel-projection of over 5 billion followers of the various Abrahamic religions by the same year. Accordingly, Jerusalem has a unique and significant importance in promoting international peace, reconciliation and justice both today and into the future.

Mitigation, and eventual elimination, of enmity and polarisation which currently exist between the three Abrahamic religions is undoubtedly a prime motivation for the majority of fair-minded *Christians, Jews and Muslims the world over. The Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) would act as a point of peaceful convergence between the three Abrahamic religions and promote deeper respect and understanding between the people of Jerusalem and beyond. The Abrahamic Peace Centre (APC) would have the capacity to redefine the relationship between the three Abrahamic religions which characterise and dominate Jerusalem by providing a tangible point of harmony for *Christianity, Islam and Judaism alike.