Saturday, January 27, 2018
Iman Al-Ghafari leads Peace Circles in Syria, Lebanon

Inter-religious conflict, simmering below the surface or erupting into open war, has been a feature of life in many Middle Eastern countries for years. Iman Al Ghafari recounts how the peace circles she courageously leads in her native Syria and in Lebanon change hearts and minds. Here are excerpts from her report.

Damascus, October 2017---“I have learned many things from joining these circles,” said Zouhair, a male participant who had insisted on joining the Peace Circles, composed of three men and six women. “I have learned the importance of the inner peace to have a good relationship with others from different religions and backgrounds. Also, to have unconditional love for them. Being able to forgive others makes us powerful.”

Our meetings were held at the Damascus Independent Academy. Sabah Nahas, the school principal said: “I want my school to be dedicated to build better humanity”

Rahaf, another participant said: “Through our meetings in Beirut with Lebanese Christians and Muslim friends, huge barriers broke down.”

At the end of our meetings, we watched The Imam and the Pastor, the IofC film about the dramatic change of heart in a Muslim Imam and Christian pastor from bitter hostility to love and respect for each other.

“We need to have Imams and Pastors like them in Syria,” said Thanaa in the post-screening discussion.

We will continue to hold these meetings through a social work cooperative.

Holding these peace circles in Damascus and taking them to Lebanon would have been impossible without the financial aid that Canadian friends have been sending to us. New friendships are made and important things happen.

Thank you to all of you from the bottom of my heart.

Iman Al Ghafari, Damascus, Syria.