We received this dispatch from Canon Andrew White, one of our Peamcekaers in Action, and wanted to share it with you. Canon White and his organization, the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East (FFRME), are organizing a summit that will bring together leaders from Iraqi Sadrists, Kurds, Sunni, Shia and Christian groups. This is precisely what it means to be a Peacemaker – working with on-the-ground leaders, who are often at odds, to broker peace.
Learn more (from FFRME's newsletter):
Crisis talks addressing sectarian violence have the "power to bring peace"
Iraq's religious leaders are to unite in a bid to end sectarian violence gripping the country, it was announced today.
The High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq (HCRLI) will gather for a four-day crisis summit in Copenhagen in the New Year to address the increasing violence against the country's religious minorities.
It follows a recent wave of attacks on Iraq's Christian community, in which more than 100 people have died, including 52 during a siege at a central Baghdad church.
Since then, scores of Christians have fled Baghdad, with over 1,000 internally displaced to Kurdistan in the north of the country and many more fleeing as refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
The HCRLI exists to bridge sectarian divides in the country. Its 10 key members include senior religious leaders from across Iraq's faith and ethnic groups – Sadrists, Kurds, Sunni, Shia and Christian.
The January summit, arranged by Hampshire-based charity The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME), will address current sectarian violence, and aims to enable leaders to take the first steps toward peace. FRRME also formed the High Council.
Canon Andrew White, Vicar of St George's Church, Baghdad, and President of the FRRME said: "The international community is awakening to the fact that all is not entirely well in Iraq.
"January's Emergency Summit in Copenhagen will unite some of Iraq's most influential religious leaders. Negotiations will be difficult and delicate. These men have significant enmity towards each other yet, because of the trust we have built up, they are willing to meet. If they can work together they have the power to bring peace. If not, things will only get worse."
FRRME Director, Peter Marsden, added: "While it may seem strange for an Anglican clergyman to be chairing these meetings, Canon Andrew White is uniquely placed to do this work. He has earned his relationship with these religious leaders through his commitment to Iraq since 1998. They know him and they trust him.
"He also has the advantage of being neither Sunni nor Shia; Arab nor Kurd. In the Middle East there is a real tradition of 'the honest broker' and Canon White is just that."
The summit will take place from January 11-14 in Copenhagen.
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