SOURCE: Arkady Povzikov

Arkady Povzikov

August 11, 2009 13:02 ET

Middle East Peace Process Lagging

Expert Says There Will Be No Peace Accord Unless Religious Leaders Are Part of the Process

THORNHILL, ON--(Marketwire - August 11, 2009) - If not now, when? That was the question posed to President Barack Obama by Jordan's King Abdullah, who met with the President in Washington last week.

He warned that unless headway was achieved in the dormant peace process, the Middle East could be heading toward renewed open conflict. Speaking to a group of Washington diplomats, the Jordanian monarch said he was truly worried by the prevailing trend developing in his region.

"I do not want to talk about missed opportunities," King Abdullah said. "I want to focus on the urgency of not missing any more."

But the opportunity will surely be missed, according to one expert, if religious leaders are excluded from the dialogue.

"No peace accord will work, regardless of who signs it, if the religious leaders of the region aren't included in the process," said Arkady Povzikov, author of "The Thirteenth Apostle" ( "Political leaders may make policy, but the religious leaders hold the hearts and minds of the people. Palestinian political leaders struggle to keep militant factions dormant during ceasefires, because their religious leaders are busy stoking the fire."

In his book, Povzikov layers a fictional story over a foundation of truths, which concern world religions, and a quest to find the truth about the heritage of his main character. In the end, the book underscores the need for the religious leaders of the world to come together.

"Think of it like this: Islam is to Islamic extremists as Christianity is to the Ku Klux Klan," Povzikov said. "No mainstream Christian family believes in racism the same way that no mainstream Islamic family believes in terrorism. So, if we believe the same things in our own cultures, why can't we work together to solve our global problems? Everybody thinks their religion is the One," Povzikov said. "But if the religions of the world would agree to tackle serious world problems together, you could bring millions of hearts, hands and minds together to find a solution."

About Arkady Povzikov

Povzikov was born in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union. After studying economics, he immigrated to Canada in 1973. After graduating from high school and the Industrial College he served in the Soviet Army.

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