The Saint David Amess Peace Initiative
The Saint David Amess Peace Initiative is the world’s first known interfaith sainthood nomination. A Muslim immigrant with Jewish support is seeking to recognise a Christian conservative with the highest honors in his faith. The nomination is a powerful gesture of unity and tolerance that promotes peace and helps combat extremist ideologies and violence.
The initiative honors murdered politician and humanitarian Sir David Amess, a devout Catholic, who was fatally stabbed 21 times by a Muslim terrorist on October 15, 2021 inside a Methodist church during walk-in meetings with the public. Sir David rose from poverty to a distinguished career of public service, beginning as a school teacher for disabled children, followed by 38 years as a Member of the UK Parliament representing Southend before being killed on the job.
Sir David was widely considered to be the finest constituency MP in the UK, and was the embodiment of peace, courage and sacrifice. Even those who disagreed with some of his views respected his passionate and sincere work on behalf of people and animals. Sir David’s extraordinary life, exemplary character, and martyrdom while heroically serving others, merit him to be considered for sainthood.
In support of this nomination is a global £1 Million drive to fund Sir David’s sainthood investigation, his multiple charities and Southend, a United Arab Emirates government fatwa approved by 6 Muftis and a petition to award Sir David with an American Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.
Highlights of Sir David’s Legacy & Tributes
Sir David & Islam
Positive Interfaith Relations
Sir David’s murder is especially tragic because he was supportive of the Muslim community, who appreciated him greatly in return. He put people before immigration politics when coming to the aid of 100 Afghani refugees housed in Southend, for example. Similar interfaith and other work were done quietly, and if Sir David had received more publicity and deserved credit, he might still be alive today.
“In this ever changing world which as a result of modern communication gets smaller all the time, it’s so important that tolerance and mutual respect are fostered. I applaud Dr. Lais in his research to establish tolerance and harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims. I am a Christian, a Roman Catholic and have been a Parliamentarian for 30 years. The constructive approach of Dr. Lais I wholeheartedly welcome.”
Sir David Amess
“We deeply mourn the passing away of Sir David Amess MP for Southend West. We pray to God to give his wife and family the strength and patience to bear this irreplaceable loss. We have wonderful memories of Sir David including the Southend Muslim Scouts launch in 2013 and attending our Mosque open days every year…Sir David Amess was always reachable, he showed great compassion for communities and always was there to offer support. He will be greatly missed by us at UKIM Southend Mosque and the community in Southend…”
Iftikhar Ul Haq, Imam & Dr Arshad Ghori, President
A Muslim Nominator
I’m an American, British and Algerian national who immigrated to the United States as a child and to France, England and Canada as an adult. I’m not a spokesperson for Islam or a role model, but I am nevertheless a proud Muslim and believe it is a responsibility and a privilege, as a Muslim, to nominate my former MP, Sir David, for sainthood. While a Muslim nominating a Catholic may be unprecedented, we must always endeavour to think of, and support, new ways to foster a more peaceful coexistence.
I first got to know Sir David by correspondence in 2017, shortly after I moved to Southend. A friend told me that Sir David was renowned for his responsiveness and advised me to contact him with my ideas to improve the community. True to his reputation, Sir David responded meaningfully to all my letters, addressing a variety of topics such as improving public transport, creating safer roads and cleaner parks, and my social enterprise startup. Sir David also personally campaigned door to door despite being the overwhelmingly favoured candidate; he visited my house on at least one occasion that I know of, but I was sadly absent at the time. I intended to visit Sir David to thank him for his support, but that was also not meant to be. When paying my respects at his office and watching the news, I would learn that he supported and touched countless others in similar or greater fashion.
It’s noteworthy to share that I’ve travelled to numerous Muslim countries such as, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, Tanzania and the United Arab Emirates, visited hundreds of mosques, been on the Haj pilgrimage, and been in the company of millions of Muslims, yet not once have I come across anyone who expressed, let alone tried to recruit me into extremism. It’s also true that I’ve disproportionately experienced terrorism committed by statistical outliers in the Muslim population that has had a traumatic impact on my life, some of which I’ve highlighted in the timeline below. That trauma is another driving force in this initiative which I hope will curb all extremist violence, especially that which uses Islam as a justification.
1990s Algeria’s Black Decade
Following cancelled parliamentary elections that the islamic party were poised to win, terrorist rebel groups emerged with an agenda to overthrow the government. A general lawlessness enveloped many regions, muddying the waters. Over the decade, between 150,000 and 200,000 civilians were killed, many barbarically. As a child, I visited Algeria for five consecutive summers during the conflict, and I had family amongst the victims. I still experience nightmares from these visits, where every strange sound at night brought fear that we were about to be beheaded, an all too common practice at the time.
2001 NYC World Trade Center
My favorite NYC landmark whose observation deck I visited, and whose concourse I regularly commuted through the summer before, was twice attacked by Muslim terrorists. My brother and I were NYU undergraduate students during the second attack on 9/11. I was studying abroad at NYU in Paris when I overheard people on the street saying that NYC and the Pentagon had been attacked, leading to my dreadful belief that World War Three was underway. I walked to a nearby electronics store and saw the flaming towers being broadcast on every TV screen in the window display.
2012 NYC Cousin Convicted
My cousin, Ahmed Ferhani, pled guilty and was convicted of plotting domestic terrorism in a controversial case that was the first tried under NYC’s post-9/11 anti-terrorism laws. While we hadn’t seen each other for years, I met him outside his home the week of his arrest, but he gave me no indication of any fundamentalism or terrorist plans, instead sharing that he intended to peruse a career in entertainment. He had been heading down the wrong path for a while, exacerbated by a long history of mental health problems and failing out of school.
2017 Westminster Bridge
Down the road from my office near Victoria Station in London, and in the middle of the work week, a Muslim extremist mowed down pedestrians with a rental vehicle on Westminster Bridge and stabbed an unarmed police officer. The victim toll was five people killed and 50 wounded. My co-workers and I regularly went for afternoon runs in the area, and the bridge was one of our routes. On another day, we may have been amongst the victims.
The following historical figures who break negative religious and racial stereotypes were also an inspiration.
Saint Augustine, an Algerian Berber born near my paternal hometown of Azzaba, served as the Bishop of Annaba for 34 years and is a Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church. Saint Augustine is considered to be one of the greatest Western philosophers and writers, and has an influence on Christianity that is arguably second only to Saint Paul. Saint Augustine was a strong advocate of critical thinking and establishing the truth through reasoning. He was also an early civil rights champion, leading many under his authority to free their slaves as an act of piety as well as advocating the Emperor to enact laws against the slave trade.
The Emir Abdelkader
The Emir Abdelkader was an Algerian scholar and military leader who fought back against colonial France. Despite being invaded, he treated his prisoners with an unparalleled level of dignity, such as releasing those he could not properly feed, flogging abusive guards and entrusting female prisoners to his mother. The Emir’s codification of human rights, the earliest in recorded history, was a forerunner to the Geneva Convention. Even after being exiled in Syria, the Emir risked his life to save more than 10,000 Christians, including the entire European diplomatic corps, from massacre, earning him praise from the Vatican, Queen Victoria and Abraham Lincoln. The Emir also holds the distinction as the only Arab with an American city named after him.
A Fatwa in Support
To address any potential religious hesitation and build broader Muslim consensus, a fatwa, a formal religious opinion, was obtained from the United Arab Emirates Official Fatwa Center through their 6 Mufti approval process
His Holiness Pope Francis
“The Secretariat of State has been asked by his Holiness Pope Francis to acknowledge receipt of your thoughtful letter and to communicate that its contents have been noted. His Holiness will remember you and your family in his prayers.”
Cardinal Nichols of Westminster & Bishop Williams of Brentwood
“[We] very much agree with your remarks about Sir David Amess, MP. He was a ‘shining example’ to people of all faiths, a wonderful politician, and, as you know from personal experience, a generous human being and man of faith. Thank you for nominating Sir David as a Catholic Saint…With all good wishes and an assurance of prayers.”
Rabbi David Rosen KSG CBE
Director of Interfaith Affairs at the American Jewish Committee in Jerusalem, Former Head Rabbi of Ireland
“I am also privileged to associate myself with Karim’s efforts to honor the memory of Sir David Amess and his exemplary life which was so profoundly in consonance with these ideals and aspirations.”
Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport & Infrastructure
“Congratulations on all the work you are doing and I commend you for it.”
Sir David’s Daughter & Hollywood Actress
“Thank you so much Karim. We really appreciate your efforts for my dad’s legacy. Anna Firth is the new MP now so she will be happy to participate in any upcoming events since I live in the USA. Thank you once again.”
1) Donate with Mightycause
100% of the funds raised, minus government taxes levied against personal crowdfunding, unless a tax-exempt organisation steps up to collect the funds, will go towards Sir David’s sainthood investigation, which averages £500k and is conducted by the Catholic Church, and the remainder to his charities & the City of Southend.
2) Raise Funds with Online Shopping
The Saint David Amess Peace Initiative has partnered with Easyfundraising to allow every UK shopper to turn their online shopping into FREE money back donations for the cause. More than 2 million shoppers use the service and have raised over £40 Million for their causes.
3) Join the Petition
If you are not in a position to contribute financially, please “Like” and “Share” the below global petition for President Joe Biden to award Sir David with a Presidential Medal of Freedom to recognise him in a secular manner. Let’s reverse the trend of social media flaming hate and division and harness its potential to create unity and peace.
© The Saint David Amess Peace Initiative