Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

California Peace Activist Speaks in Des Moines

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

California Peace Activist Speaks in Des Moines

Article excerpt

Anthony Manousos of Culver City, California spoke to Iowa peace and social justice activists at the Des Moines Valley Friends Meetinghouse on June 28.

"I study the Qur'an and I hang out with Muslims," said Manousos, flashing an infectious smile.

The Quaker activist speaks with unabashed enthusiasm about his continuing interest in other religions and his involvement in interfaith activism. "After 9/11, I felt led to fast during Ramadan. That was my entrée into the Muslim community. I told Muslims I was fasting and they were so excited. They invited me into their homes. I decided to continue fasting during Ramadan and have done so now for 10 years," said Manousos.

The former English teacher and editor is touring the U.S., speaking about the growing interfaith movement and his experiences at the Parliament of the World's Religions, which convened in Melbourne, Australia in 2009.

Manousos, author of a pamphlet published by the Friends Bulletin titled Islam from a Quaker Perspective and Friends and the Interfaith Movement (updated 2008), told his Des Moines audience that he had spoken about the Israel/Palestine crisis and his experience in the Holy Land in the context of his presentation about the Listening Project at the 2009 Parliament.

When he heard that the 2009 Parliament of the World's Religions, the world's largest interreligious gathering, would convene in Melbourne, he had to go, Manousos said. "The Parliament is kind of like the Olympics of interfaith," he explained. "It's held every five years and it attracts major religious and spiritual leaders. …

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