- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 24, 2005

An Iraqi activist for women’s rights and the exiled king of Rwanda were among those honored last night as global peacemakers by an international peace organization.

“I know what war means — I’ve been through it,” said Katrin Michael, whose father was involved in peace efforts in Iraq until he was killed by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Being an ambassador for peace will augment her work to establish women’s rights in the Middle East, said Ms. Michael, who also survived a chemical attack on her village by the regime.

“My main message in Iraq is for Iraqi women to have the same rights as men, both constitutional and in all fields of life,” she said. “Just like men, women are the creation of God.”

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon addressed the event last night in Washington as part of a 100-city international speaking tour.

A highlight of his message, “God’s Ideal Family: The Mode for World Peace,” was the introduction of the Universal Peace Federation, an organization similar to the United Nations that will work to resolve international conflicts. The organization announced it will give $1 million in Hurricane Katrina relief to the Points of Light Foundation.

Rev. Moon also renewed his call for the building of a 51-mile bridge and tunnel over the Bering Strait to enhance cultural and commercial trade between the United States and Russia.

“Some may doubt that such a project can be completed,” the 85-year-old evangelist said. “But where there is a will, there is always a way — especially if it is the will of God.”

King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the exiled king of Rwanda, and Bertrand Phillips, co-founder of the Africa United States Partnership Fund, and his wife, Judith, were among those who were accepted into the 50,000-member Ambassadors for Peace organization.

The designation will “bring us into fellowship” with other like-minded people and allow cooperation among goodwill projects, especially in other countries, said Mr. Phillips, whose group is involved in antipoverty efforts in Africa.

At a press conference, Archbishop George Augustus Stallings of the Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation, Imam Ameer Salahuddin of the Islamic Center of Passaic County in New Jersey, Rabbi Mordechai Waldman of Detroit and Pastor Jesse Edwards of the Pentacostal Family Church of Philadelphia spoke of their renewed hopes for interfaith cooperation.

Muslims have many sects and have “gotten stuck” in their ways, said Mr. Salahuddin. But interfaith efforts in Israel and Palestinian areas are breaking new ground, he said.

“We’ve been separated too long,” he said, referring to the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

When asked why, given all the previous cries for world peace, today’s peacemaking efforts should be different, Archbishop Stallings said that “it’s because we have yet to achieve it.”

The road map, he said, citing the example of Rev. Moon and his allies, “is living for the sake of others and loving your enemy.”

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