Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sami Rasouli, Iraqi-American, the Founder of the Muslim Peacemakers Team, on Iraq

The new narrative is that we're winning the Iraq War. Or we're winning the peace. I don't have enough information to confirm or deny this latest spin, but I have an allergy to accepting things too quickly; Listen to Iraqi-American Sami Rasouli on Democracy Now for a second opinion. Here's something from the transcript, in which Rasouli talks about forming the first "Muslim Peacemakers Team," based on the CPT model which involves people wearing CPT uniforms and offering nonviolent witness by trying to eliminate violence in conflict zones such as in Hebron (Palestine):

But I wanted to do something, how much this thing I can offer, less or more, it might be make little change, so I headed there, but I was surprised to meet members of the Christian Peacemakers Teams in Karbala, working with the Karbala Human Rights Watch center, where I met with them. And it was, for me, like something I found to shape up my mission. And we were all, the Iraqi, at that center, impressed with the work of Christian Peacemakers Team. So that's why we decided to form the Muslim Peacemakers Team.

And since then, the MPT was involved with joint efforts and projects in Iraq, mainly was the clean-up project in the city of Fallujah, where eighteen delegates -- three were Christian, and fifteen Shiites Muslim men and women from Najaf -- who committed themselves to go offer the troubled city that faced destruction twice, in April 2004 and November 2004. So we were there and announced help to pick up rubbles, garbage, knocking the doors of the residents to ask for taking away refuse and waste. And the people there were touched. They actually haven't seen any garbage collectors for the previous two years, since the war started. So they invited us to pray with them. And we went, and we did. We prayed in the Al Furqan Mosque in the area of Saba Nissan. There were close to 2,000 worshippers, where the Sheikh change his sermon to a unity. People learned about us, that we were among them, Sunni and Shiites worshipping together, same God, having the same holy book, Koran.

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