Research in Syria: Andrew's story

Revd Andrew Ashdown shares how his research in Syria during the height of the conflict has affected him and looks forward to possibilities for peace.

This series is about stories that shape us. Andrew shares how this work and particularly being in Aleppo during the height of that conflict and the experience of entering East Aleppo after it returned to government control has profoundly challenged him.

it's made me question the whole question of right and wrong and black and white and good and evil . There's huge evil but society life the world and everything is so utterly complex it's all part of God's creation and all people are part of God's creation and I grapple with that.

Elsewhere Andrew briefly explains the context of his research work, how the act of research has challenged him and what we can learn from the commitment of the Syrian church and their religious partners.

I hope that what I do is making a contribution to the contextual understanding of Christian Muslim relations in Syria. How those communities there which are diverse plural have lived through brutal conflict … they have something to teach us, the context has something to teach us

The challenges of inter-religious cooperation after conflict are very great. In some areas there is continued goodwill, even as concern about political sympathies exist. In places where there has been devastating sectarian conflict matters are more complex, although there are still grounds for hope

There huge levels of trust been broken down and yet at the same time for example I've seen for example real will to embrace of Muslim members of the community that didn't take part or sympathise with the extremists

In closing he talks about the church in Syria

The church there goes back to the time of Christ It's strong, it has suffered a lot, it's vibrant It's living, it's serving, it's been there for centuries, it predates Islam. … Everybody has lost so much and yet they are giving so much

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