Path of the Friend

Writings related to ‘Interfaith’

Pakistan: A Prayer in the Militant Mosque

March 31st, 2010

The following letter by Elias – and the next ones to come by Elizabeth – were written from Pakistan, where Elias was invited to address a conference on “Sufism and Peace” sponsored by the Pakistan Academy of Letters. The experience described in this letter occurred toward the end of our stay. The Mosque The dawn […]

With Hafez in the Islamic Republic of Iran

November 17th, 2005

IRAN In the desert city of Yazd, central Iran, I start asking around to meet a Sufi. Having asked this kind of question before in a number of Muslim countries, I know it doesn’t always work as I hope, so I add, “A wise Sufi who knows and loves Hafez, if there is someone like […]

Walking with Abraham

October 30th, 2005

HARRAN, TURKEY It feels like the middle of nowhere – a rainy night, a poor neighborhood of scattered mud-brick and cement-block houses, puddles forming in the unpaved streets – but it was here in Harran, in what is now southeastern Turkey, that the religions of half of humanity had their beginning. In this place some […]

The Challenge of Fundamentalism

May 2nd, 2005

The Challenge of Fundamentalism by Rabia Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon Wherever we travel we find concern about fundamentalism. Europeans are worried about violent outbreaks among immigrants in their home countries and the apparent failure of their attempts at multi-culturalism. Arabs try to assure us that fundamentalism is not the heart of Islam. Our liberal […]

In the Fourth World

January 6th, 2004

MAE LAN KHAM COMMUNITY FOREST, SAMOENG, THAILAND Pati Daiya, the village headman, held the chicken gently next to the Water Spirit’s bamboo shrine, her wings folded against her body. He prayed, and while he prayed he reached behind his back to the sheath containing his square-ended machete. Without hesitation he thwacked the chicken hard on […]

The Believer’s Candle

November 24th, 2003

DAMASCUS, SYRIA Our pilgrimage to Syria left many traces on our hearts of realities deeper than headlines. In this letter I would like to describe three images that particularly touched me during the journey. These are images of people praying. I have always been drawn to the company of people at prayer – Hindu or […]

Syrian Pilgrimage

November 22nd, 2003

DAMASCUS, SYRIA “In America, the idea of us Syrians is that we eat foreigners,” joked Mahat El-Khoury, a 71 year-old human rights worker and recent Damascus “Woman of the Year.” “We Syrians feel misunderstood by the West. You don’t understand our religions, our family ways, our history, or our politics. You think we’re terrorists. We […]

From a Desert Monastery

May 27th, 2003

THE MONASTERY OF ST. MOSES, SYRIA Up here in the desert cliffs everything that is not human, goat, or chicken, is stone or sky. A long rocky path winds up to the stone walls of this 6th century monastery. At dawn and dusk the sky is the color of mother-of-pearl, otherwise it is bright blue […]

If Only I Had Wings to Fly

February 9th, 2003

BAGHDAD, IRAQ I woke up at 5:30 this morning to go out to the U.N. headquarters on the outskirts of Baghdad with my friend Mohamed, an Iraqi driver and helper-with-all-things. He and I spent the last few days preparing an encampment for the Iraq Peace Team across the road from the U.N. We were expecting […]

Back to Baghdad

January 30th, 2003

AMMAN, JORDAN Today we write from a small hotel in Amman, Jordan, waiting for our visas which will enable us to return to Iraq. The newspapers we have just finished reading announce “America Targets Iraq!” and recount the number of soldiers and tonnage of munitions destined for the country across the border. So why then […]