My Life In The Middle: 25 Years as a Front-line Interfaith Peacemaker in Israel & Palestine
Sheikh Ghassan Manasra is an award-winning interreligious peacemaker, scholar, Imam, and dialogue facilitator from Nazareth, Israel, who has been at the head of interfaith dialogue and peacemaking in Israel and the Palestinian Territories for the last 25 years.
Ghassan has walked down streets in Israel where on one side he has been stoned by radical Muslims, and on the other by radical Jews. He and his family (his son, also a Sheikh, continues in the path of his father) have been attacked on numerous occasions by radicals seeking to prevent the simple and courageous acts of bringing people of different faiths together in peaceful gatherings in Israel and Palestine.
His projects – creating unbiased teacher-training programs for Israeli schools, organizing the World Congress Of Rabbis And Imams For Peace, facilitating countless encounters between different faiths and faith leaders in Israel and Palestine, speaking throughout Israel, Palestine, Europe, and North America – are all in the name of bringing peace to the land where he was born, a land torn in violent conflict and separation, a land that he believes can be an example to the world of multifaith and multicultural coexistence.
In his words: “Most people think Muslims are the most radical and aggressive people in the world – it’s not true – and I want to tell you that this Muslim Sheikh decided that I will fight my own radicalism. I realized from the beginning that if I wanted peace to win I would need to come from the inside, and because I am a Muslim, I must clear myself of all radicalism and work from within Islam to stop the radical elements from spreading. I cannot say that I created miracles but I did have successes, to bring people to be part of this way of peacemaking. I cannot say that I am a great hero but I can add my small part to this great process, and you and others can add your parts, and together we can bring light to the earth through our peacemaking.”