Ameal Haddad, the Jordan-Born Co-founder of Ambassadors for Peace, Goes to His Reward
By Boaz Wadel
The Rev. Ameal Haddad, the co-founder of Ambassadors for Peace, an organization whose main aim is to "foster religious tolerance, the right to faith, freedom of speech, and freedom from reprisal or persecution," passed away today (Tuesday July 1, 2014), in a hospital in Lakewood, California.
Dr. Garry Ansdell, the co-founder of Ambassadors for Peace (www.am4peace.com), who had worked close for many years with Haddad, an American citizen from a Jordanian background, told ANS, "It is with great sadness that we report that our co-founder, Pastor Ameal Haddad, has passed away. He went home to be with his Lord Jesus this morning."
Born in Jordan in 1938, Pastor Haddad, a fluent Arabic speaker, had traveled throughout the Islamic world with Garry Ansdell, spreading their "Religious Rights Resolution," and sharing their beliefs with many key Muslim and other religious leaders.
According to Ansdell, he had gone into a local hospital for a pre-op biopsy for problems he was having with his lungs, but during a procedure his heart stopped, and he was rushed into the ICU, where he eventually passed away.
"Pastor Ameal was a great man of faith and he definitely blazed a trail wherever he went in the world," said Ansdell. "The foundation that he laid with Ambassadors for Peace will be continued."
No date has yet been set for the funeral, and Pastor Ansdell said that very soon there will be a memorial service for him at Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California, where he is the senior pastor.
Haddad and Ansell have worked tirelessly together, taking their "Religious Rights Resolution," which has the motto, "Whose Time Has Come," to many countries including Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Syria, Morocco and, more recently, two years ago, to Indonesia, where I traveled with them to report on their activities.
Dan Wooding with Ameal Haddad and
Garry Ansdell on His Channel Live
Ambassadors for Peace was created shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, when Ansdell and Haddad, both pastors in Bellflower, began responding to Muslim and other leaders who like them thought there was a desperate need to codify and discuss in "an open dialogue, of the differences and similarities of their faith and give dignity and respect to each other."
Ansdell told me, "This is a once in a life opportunity for us to share with political and religious leaders who desire to see religious freedom spelled out for all. We all have a divine right to believe in God and acknowledging our differences, gives an honest approach to dialogue instead of pretending we all believe the same way."
While in Indonesia during March 2012, Haddad spoke to a group of Arab Ambassadors based in Jakarta that included those representing Egypt, Palestine, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Oman and Sudan, at a gathering convened at the home of the then Jordanian Ambassador, Mohammad H. Dawodieh.
Ameal Haddad addressingthe ambassadors as
Southern Californiabusinessman Javier
Aguayo, a boardmember of Ambassadors for
Peace, looks on.(Photo: Dan Wooding)
They heard Haddad tell them in Arabic, "Violence committed in the name of "religion is on the rise and increasing. Whether it's Muslim-on-Muslim oppression based on theological differences taking place in , Syria, or Afghanistan, or attacks perpetrated against those of other faiths in Africa, or even occasional Protestant vs. Christian violence in Ireland, not one day passes without the news media carrying accounts of people whose lives have been lost, houses of worship destroyed, forced deportations, displaced people running out of their own homes and their native countries where their ancestors had lived for centuries.
"The brutality, violence, and bloodshed that are committed against a fellow citizen, in the name of religion should not be tolerated by other citizen.
"How long are we to remain merely spectators of these international horrors? It is a disgrace for noble peoples to accept, condone, or tolerate bloodshed motivated by religious hatred of any kind.
"There must be a dialogue between the followers of different religions based on equal ground and religious freedom dialogue, which recognizes that all adherents of different religions have an equal right to exchange their views within the context of peaceful co-existence and mutual respect."