Annnd I’m Off To The Balkans!


No... Bono didn't come with us, but 'Coexist' is the objective of our travels.

“Macedonia? Croatia? What? Why would you go there?”

That’s usually the line of questioning I’ve heard from family and friends when I’ve told them about my trip. Countries which aren’t heard about and easily forgotten… sort of like Idaho, the Dakota’s, and Nebraska.

I’m traveling these two countries with an interfaith group called TRUTH Houston. There are pastors, activists, Muslims and a rabbi. Just one rabbi, but he’s wonderful and probably does the job of five combined (props to Rabbi Steve Gross).

The TRUTH group consists of myself and: 
Reverend Steve Quill the founder of TRUTH
Dr. Jill Caroll a professor from Rice University and a writer for Houston Belief
Pastor Eric Klimpel from Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church
Pastor Chris Lake of Tree of Life Lutheran Church
Reverend Beth Marie Halvorsen of Living Word Lutheran Church
Reverend Robin Reeves of St. James Episcopal Church
Rabbi Steve Gross of the Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism
Celil Yaka with Turkish Chamber of Commerce
Randy Butler the President of The Institute for Sustainable Peace
Pastor Joel Goza of Pleasant Hill Baptist

The idea of the trip is to bring together leaders from different faiths in Houston and sitting with people from these counties to understand what role different faiths play to bring together war-torn societies. The hope, thereby, is that we as leaders come closer together in friendship and understanding and work with one another to bring a higher level of dialogue between our respective communities.

The TRUTH group

The more communication between our communities, the better.

Afterwards, as everyone goes home, I’ll be taking off to Bosnia with my backpack.

Throughout the trip, I’ll be writing brief posts on a daily basis about my trip along with pictures and brief interviews with different members of our group and locals. Keep up with it all on my Facebook Page (http://www.fb.me/lifefromadifferentlens), Twitter (@shariqghani) and through email (subscribe on the right hand side of this page).

Next: Houston to Washington to Vienna to Skopje, Macedonia for a couple of days!

Learn more about the wars which shaped the region: 
Wiki on the Yugoslav Wars: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_wars
Video on the War: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df4e_nL-SQ0

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