"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” --Article 18: Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
When we began in 2008, our community did not accept Christians and Muslims working together. Both our churches and mosques shunned and punished us in various ways. Our participation in the international networks of the Alternatives to Violence Project and Friends Peace Teams encourages us not only to learn effective tools for peace and nonviolence, but also to value the power of visiting, across divides, with a commitment to and a faith in peace. Today we have an open training center and school for people of all backgrounds. Local suspicion waxes and wanes, but we persist and enjoy the beautiful changes we see in ourselves and our families as well as our friends and neighbors.
Social Justice for the People
We bring our professional skills and networks to help local people, who are committed to peace and justice, think through and understand their situations, and we speak up for those whose human rights are neglected or abused, whether that’s that rights of children and women’s rights, rights for land and water, rights for safe haven and basic needs, or other rights. We visit, get to know and offer mutual support among hardworking, trustworthy, peaceful, ordinary people, then organize to respond to needs as they arise.
Note: Peace Place’s training center was constructed by the Sikep people in gratitude for our assistance in protecting their land from cement blasting interests. (picture of Peace Place building)
Conscience is an inward knowledge of right and wrong, with a compulsion to do what’s right. It requires judgment and action. Conscience is expressed in how we treat other people and the earth, so conscience is a community matter. We are part of an international movement of conscience, to oppose war and violence and to commit to living in integrity with life’s transforming power. You, too, may write your own Statement of Conscience or sign the international Declaration of Conscience against paying for war.
Having international visitors creates a rich environment for learning and exchange that has changed all of us. Formerly closed local communities have opened up, interested in meeting international guests. We have learned the tremendous power of visiting among people committed to peace and nonviolence. At the same time, local people and office assume we have more international financial support than we do, so they assume we don’t need local support, and sometimes resist what they feel is a ’westernizing’ influence. But what this exchange brings has been so valuable to us, we learn to appreciate the relationships.
Silaturahmi: The Power of Visiting
This film offers a powerful sense of the work of Friends Peace Teams in Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines, through many voices including ours here at Peace Place. Silaturahmi means visiting, without agenda as one visits family or friends, which Muslims consider mandatory for building and maintaining spiritual community, what Christians consider spiritual hospitality. This resonates well with a Quaker approach to peace work, bridging among communities in conflict, Christians and Muslims as well as international and local groups.