51: From Murder to Forgiveness with Azim Khamisa
Azim Khamisa is an inspiration and I first heard about him through
The Forgiveness Project and his wonderful TED talk with Ples Felix, the
grandfather of the man who shot his son.
He has been hailed by dignitaries such as the Dalai Lama, former President Bill
Clinton, and Al Gore; Azim carries his inspirational message of forgiveness,
peace, leadership and hope into the world.
Following the murder of his son in 1995, Azim Khamisa founded the Tariq
Khamisa Foundation (TKF.org), which started a subsequent forgiveness
movement that has reached millions.
Every time I hear him speak I am moved, especially when he talks about there
being two victims at both ends of the gun and had that realisation just a few
hours after his son had been shot.
He has received over 80 local, national and international awards:
- In 1997 he received the National Crime Victims Special Community
Service Award presented by President Clinton and Attorney General Janet
- In 2002, he received Search for Common Ground’s prestigious award
alongside Desmond Tutu and Ted Koppel
- In 2004, he participated in the Synthesis Dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai
Lama which was hosted by Pope John Paul at his summer palace in
- In 2006 he was given the "Spirit of Crazy Horse
Award from the Reclaiming Youth Network alongside Mohammad Ali.
- In addition, Azim has been the recipient of the California Peace Prize in 2003
and the Pepsi Freedom Heroes Award in 2006. He has received several other
Peacemaker of the Year awards.
With a strong passion to share his message with the youth and to inspire
nonviolent leaders become proactive as peacebuilders, Azim, in addition, has
given over 1,000 presentations to over a million students worldwide. He is a
published author of five books.
Some key points from our interview:
- How he believes that the universe doesn’t give us any more pain than you can handle.
- How he reached out in forgiveness to Tony Hicks grandfather, Ples Felix
to begin the process of healing and together they established the Tariq
- How being a Sufi Muslim has supported him during his grief process and
guided him for the future.
- How when he first met Tony in prison he says he was able to climb into
his eyes and touch his humanity and realised that the spark in him was
no different from himself.
- How he supported Tony in prison and advocated for his parole hearing.
- How he started the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to “Kids killing kids”
through education, mentorship and community service programs
You can find out more about Azim here:
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You can find out more about Madeleine, her story and her memoir, Unbroken, from her website: https://madeleineblack.co.uk/
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