“Any life that is lost in war is a human life be it that of an Arab or an Israeli. A wife who becomes a widow is a human being entitled to a happy family life, whether she be an Arab or an Israeli. Innocent children who are deprived of the care and compassion of their parents are ours. They are ours, be they living on Arab or Israeli land. They command our full responsibility to afford them a comfortable life today and tomorrow.” Anwar Sadat Address to the Israeli Knesset 20 November 1977
Anwar Sadat’s words reflect the desires of all the world’s people. If you ask a Pakistani farmer, a Serbian steel worker, or a Nigerian mother what they want out of life, they will state the same answer. They all cherish peace and prosperity for their family and their nation, education for their children to afford them a better life for the future, and their own home. Conflict has resulted among nations due to the differences that exist between culture, race, and ethnicity. Sadat believed that rather than focusing on one’s differences, one should look at the shared similarities that exist to bridge the chasm of mistrust.
With his historic trip to Jerusalem in 1977, Anwar Sadat laid the foundation for the Camp David Accords. Although a comprehensive peace is still eluding the region, evolutionary steps have resulted in partial semi- autonomy for the Palestinians, and other Arab-Israeli peace treaties. Sadat was a devout Muslim, evidenced by his zebiba, or hard callous adorned on his forehead from pressing his head to the ground during the five daily prayers required of Islam. He is survived by his widow,Jehan Sadat, four children, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Prior to his 1981 death, Anwar Sadat cherished another dream. He hoped to build a memorial to peace at the base of Mount Sinai. The flight of Moses from Egypt and his attainment of the Ten Commandments from God at Mount Sinai is a shared cultural tradition of all Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Sadat wanted to construct a triangular shaped building housing a mosque, church, and synagogue at each point. The mid- section would feature a peace center promoting cooperation among the various cultures of the region and others not associated with the three religions. Sadat stated, “It will be a living symbol of the brotherhood of man, a lighthouse that will rekindle the spirit of coexistence and tolerance among nations. . . . We realize the great need for a reminder of the oneness of human destiny and the continuation of the divine mission which is in essence a great act of mercy. This monument must light the path of generations to come.”*
Unfortunately, Sadat’s dream never came to fruition, but I hope that now is the time to move forward. This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death and this website has been created to disseminate his views. The Internet has created the ability to diffuse information with great speed. If you are interested in promoting Sadat’s message of inclusiveness and tolerance, then please send this website to your friends and colleagues. Also, request the Egyptian government to allow the World Peace Center to be built at Mt. Sinai. Please send a message to Ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik (firstname.lastname@example.org).