Diverse Faiths Build Peace in Lebanon with Renovated Center
Leaders from diverse religious and political backgrounds recently gathered to celebrate the renovation of an interfaith dialogue center in Lebanon.
The Center of Salim Ghazal for Inter-Faith Dialogue will host youth activities designed to promote tolerance and understanding. It represents an olive branch in the village of Mashghara, which has a history of violent conflict between Christians and Muslims.
"The region is in a great need of peace builders," said George Dibs, the head of the municipality. "This Center should be a place for anyone in need and provide support to the youth of this inter-religious community."
Youth from around the region were instrumental in the renovation. They helped clean, paint and set up for the reopening. Going forward, they will get together at the Center for educational movies, reading and summer camp activities.
IREX, through its One Community program, helped bring the leaders together and trained them on consensus-building and cooperative decision-making. It gave workshops on project design and management and supplied small grants.
Though they came from different faiths, the leaders emphasized common goals.
“All the religious leaders here speak the same language and believe that their mission in life is to serve the human being and not discriminate,” said Shiite Sheikh Abbas Dibeh.
Also present at the event was Archbishop Issam John Darwish, head of the Committee of Christian - Muslim Dialogue.
"It is about time we as role models start giving a good example to our community," he said.
One Community: Promoting Inter-Faith Cooperation in Lebanon is funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and implemented by IREX and its partners, the ADYAN Foundation and Nahar Ashabab.