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2012
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Rowan Williams: Never Give Up On Peace

One of the “greatest dangers” is in thinking that the conflict in the Holy Land will never be resolved, which is why efforts must continue, especially in building contacts with the younger generations of Israelis and Palestinians, says the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. In an interview with the Holy Land Review on Oct. 28, the day after the World Day of Reflection, Prayer and Pilgrimage for Peace in Assisi, Dr. Williams discussed the importance of the Assisi meeting for the Holy Land, how to best engage extremists, and the state of Christian-Muslim relations.

It’s said that the idea for the first World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi came from one of your predecessors, Dr. Robert Runcie, who suggested it to Pope John Paul II when he visited Canterbury in 1982.
I didn’t know that it had originated in those discussions to be honest, but it’s been very significant that Anglicans have been welcome guests since that time.

How important has this meeting been on the 25th anniversary of that first Assisi gathering, especially in terms of promoting peace in the Holy Land?
Nobody I think expects or expected everything to change as a result of any one of those meetings and the same is true of this one, but not to do it in this climate would be a very negative thing. Once you’ve got this, you work with it I think, and so the importance is that consistent message: “We are prepared to meet; we are prepared to work together.” It’s one of those forums where, because Christians, Jews and Muslims will come together, they will make on the record certain statements about what they think makes the peace and reconciliation. That’s bound to bear on the situation, even if it’s not directly addressed. I think also the fact that it took place in Assisi is a kind of ongoing affirmation of the significance of the holy places. Holy places are not just museum pieces, they’re not just picturesque memorials, they’re places where you expect things to be different and that’s why the Holy Land matters, and that’s why we have to work towards peace because it’s a place that makes a difference. Continue reading…

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