Unity in Diversity Interfaith Dialogue in the Middle East by Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Amal I. Khoury, and Emily Welty (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007. 285 pages.)

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K. Luisa Gandolfo



The field of conflict resolution has rarely been tested so frequently as in the
Middle East. Since 1948, internecine conflict has flared in Israel/Palestine,
Lebanon, and Iraq, with neighboring states sustaining the consequences of
the tensions.Applying interfaith dialogue (IFD) as ameans to promote peaceful
relations is thus, by its very nature, fraught with controversy and uncertainty.
Yet this unique approach draws on peace-building mechanisms that
bear such religious nuances as reconciliation, mercy, and forgiveness. By
eschewing secular concepts for religious resources, IFD provides a point
from which individuals can transcend the religious divide in search of further
understanding and peace.Accordingly, following the activities of IFD organizations
in Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon is a complex undertaking
for the authors of Unity in Diversity. Having previously addressed
Nonviolence and Peacebuilding in Islam: Theory and Practice (University
Press of Florida: 2003) and Dialogue, Conflict Resolution, and Change:
Arab-Jewish Encounters in Israel (State University of New York Press:
1999), Abu-Nimer, an associate professor with the International Peace and
Conflict Resolution Program, lends a revealing insight into faith-based resolution.
Alongside Khoury and Welty, this book introduces IDF and analyzes
its application, limitations, and recommendations.
Opening with an overview of the “Potentials and Challenges in Interfaith
Dialogue in the Middle East” in chapter 1, the authors proceed to elucidate
the book’s themes in chapter 2: “Basic Concepts and Approaches.” In
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