Religious leaders continue to reflect on the enormity of the assassination last week of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a man who claimed God had directed him.
The following are excerpts from remarks made by leading religious figures, compiled by Times religion writer Larry B. Stammer.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles:
"What shall we say? What words are there to comfort us in this dark hour when we are confronted by a killer who has the audacity to declare, 'I do not regret what I have done. God spoke to me and told me to do it.'
"No, my friends. The God of Israel who commanded, 'Thou shalt not kill,' the God of Israel who demanded of Cain, 'Where is Abel thy brother? . . . His blood crieth to me from the ground' . . . that God is much too clever to speak to such a fool, much too humble to empower such arrogance and much too noble to dignify such deception.
"No, it is not the words of the almighty that the assassin heard that day.
"Rather it is the cynical rhetoric of extremism, the anthem of fanatics that struck down Israel's prime minister."
The Rev. Billy Graham, evangelist:
"Jews and Christians share a common root in the Old Testament, and together we look forward to the day foretold by the prophet Micah when the nations of the earth 'will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.' Let us pray that the hatred and violence which have too often dominated that troubled part of the world will be replaced with compassion and tolerance, and that God will grant his peace to the peoples of the Middle East."
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles:
"When so many throughout the Middle East were reluctant to take bold and courageous steps to end decades of hostility and open conflict present in that region, Prime Minister Rabin stepped forward in the tradition of the great prophets of former ages to proclaim a new path toward peace. I was immediately reminded of the prophet Isaiah's description:
" 'How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger announcing peace, of the messenger of good news, who proclaims salvation and says to Zion, "Your God is King!" '
"It was within that extraordinary Jewish tradition that Prime Minister Rabin broke through so many years of tragic war and terrorism to call for an end to the suffering, death and misery, and to proclaim a new era of peace with the Palestinian peoples and their Arab neighbors. . . . He truly died as a prophet of peace."
Statement of the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement within Orthodox Judaism:
"Violence and murder are anathema to our Torah's teachings, as they are to all civilized people. The moral leadership of the world must not tire in its efforts to eliminate fanaticism and extremism of any kind."
Rabbi Moshe Sherer, president of Agudath Israel of America:
"No matter what a Jew's views may be about the current peace process or the sitting Israeli government, violence is not a Jewish option, and murder remains the ultimate sin against another person."
Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network:
"We condemn violence. We condemn this kind of senseless terrorism. We must settle our differences at the ballot box and not with bullets. We hope that the cause of peace will not be set back."