PEACE CAMPAIGNER: Former US
President Jimmy Carter being welcomed by Sami Angawi at his
house in Jeddah on Saturday evening.
(AN photo by Roger Harrison)
Interfaith dialogue to strengthen the world peace and stability, Al-Turki:
Highlighting the significance of the interfaith dialogue initiated
by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Abdullah Al-Turki,
secretary-general of the Makkah-based Muslim......
Jeddah: Former US President
Jimmy Carter visited Jeddah on Saturday to share his vision of the
future of cross cultural and interfaith relations and peace in the
Middle East with an invited audience.
Sami Angawi, who
hosted the event, greeted the 39th US president who has devoted his
life to building understanding between peoples and offering
practical medical help to millions of the poor across the world
through the Carter Center.
talking about peace, but we cannot have peace without justice,” he
said in his opening remarks to guests. “But justice cannot be done
without mercy and mercy cannot be given without knowledge,” he said.
He posed the
rhetorical question as to what could be done practically to achieve
this and referred to Qur’anic injunctions emphasizing balance and
unity through diversity.
“The balance is
between the constant and the evolving. If only constant, nothing
happens and if only evolving, then there will be chaos. Balance is
what brings them together. Change will give us diversity and
constancy will give us unity,” he said.
He added that
diversity exists within unity and unity accommodates diversity and
this was what brought us together as mankind.
Carter said that
his return to Saudi Arabia reminded him that the Kingdom represented
the common aspirations of many human beings.
cooperation, forgiveness and ability to work together for common
goals that are also common to all the major religions,” he said.
He noted that we
were all children of Abraham and that this bound us together as
brothers and sisters to pursue the same goal which became indistinct
in a modern fast moving world.
Carter recalled a
schoolteacher from his youth whom he quoted at both his inauguration
as president and on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
“He said that we
must accommodate changing times but cling to unchanging principles.
We must be flexible in modern days recognizing the diversity of the
hopes and dreams of all people but I also think that principles
never change. Justice, peace, humility, service, forgiveness,
compassion and love. So, we have no separation among us.”
some of the activities of the Carter Center that are driven by those
principles and said that he had a very deep commitment to several
issues. He noted that since he was free of political office he could
go where he chooses and say what he wants.
important political goal of my life for 30 years is to bring peace
to Israel and to all Israel’s neighbours with justice for the
Palestinians,” he said.
“All of us at the
Carter Center maintained a full time commitment to bringing peace
and justice to the Holy Land,” he added.
Carter said that
he had met and dealt with the parties working toward Middle East
peace — the US, Fatah, Hamas, Israelis, Lebanese and Syrians. “We
have come to the realization that there is a desire for peace, but
there are not many people who are free to move as we (the Carter
Center) do to seek this common goal,” he said.
Carter said that
he had faith and confidence in the moral values of President Barack
Obama and that he was well aware of the tremendous pressures on him
by interest groups in the US.
Offering a glimpse
of the way the Carter Center worked at both ends of the peace
continuum, he said; “We try to provide an alternative voice to some
of those groups. I have free access to President Obama and his
advisers and we continue to pursue the goal of the US taking
leadership to bring about the dream of peace.”