Posted by: Lister | July 31, 2008

Sheik Abdul-Rahman Al-Marwani

Al-Marwani is the president of the Dar Al-Salaam organization, “House of Peace”. He negotiates truces between tribes in Yemen. Time:

Negotiating peace in Yemen can be lethal. Since 1997, when Marwani founded his non-profit organization to work against gun violence and revenge killing, 15 of his volunteers have been killed — most of them caught in the crossfire of tribal battles. Government officials estimate that there are around 60 million guns in the region — three for every person. “A poor man will save on food, just to buy a gun,” says Marwani. “A man in Yemen without arms has no value.”

[…] Gun culture still rules in huge swaths of Yemen, where tribal traditions are strong and the judiciary is weak. Many “don’t believe in the law, so they take revenge using their own arms,” says Marwani. Blood feuds over anything from a pilfered cow to a perceived slight account for an estimated 1,200 revenge killings a year. Entire families become targets for retaliation, leaving parents scared to send children to school and farmers afraid to till their crops. Revenge killing is “a main obstacle for investment, for development and for democracy,” says Noor Mohamed Baabad, Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Social Affairs and Labor.

[…] A Sufi, Marwani uses the messages of Islamic mysticism to convince militants that Islam preaches peace. But on the subject of extremists, he can sound like a Washington hawk. “We need to capture all the scholars who are preaching violence, and, if we must, even kill them,” he says. “Their danger is that they can affect the whole country.” Recently, he confronted a firebrand preacher who had exhorted Muslims to kill Christians. “Do you believe Allah is wise and that all things come from Allah?” Marwani asked. The preacher did. “Even that Mercedes you drive?” the sheik pressed on. “Because if you kill all the Christians, there won’t be any of them left to build Mercedeses.”

(Via PM).


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