Rashied Omar: My ancestors were brought here
as slaves and I grew up under apartheid where the color of ones skin determined the value
of ones life. I spoke out against it and was thrown in jail. In prison, there were people
of different religions, christians, muslims, jews, and during this very difficult times
when we were being tortured we would share with each other our prayers. For me that was
a sign that God’s spirit dwells in all of us and it made me believe that one of the
ways of fighting apartheid was not merely to cross cultural divides, but also religious
divides. Narrator: After his release from prison in
1976, Rashied Omar became an interfaith leader in the non-violent struggle against Apartheid.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Our country nearly did go up in flames and its due to people
like Rashied that we pulled back from the edge of the precipice.
Narrator: Today, Rashied Omar continues his work as an interfaith peace builder, both
as a Muslim Imam in his native South Africa, and as a peace study scholar at the University
of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute. Omar: What I try and impart on my students
is that there is no way that a peace builder can go out into the world without understanding
how religion contributes to conflict and violence. More importantly, how religion can be a source
for building peace. Narrator: The University of Notre Dame asks
what would you fight for? Tutu: Fighting for peace among religions.
Omar: We are the Fighting Irish.