Syrian interfaith educator shares her story at local church

In a time of conflict and uncertainty, 39-year-old Ghada Ghazal has a mission.

She lived in Syria most of her life, but when the war in Syria broke out, she made the decision to leave her country.

Ghazal moved to Qatar and then recently moved again to Toledo, Ohio where she’s been living for the last six months.

She wants to spread the message that knowledge is power. And she’s taking her tough experiences of war and family loss and sharing them with communities like La Crescent and La Crosse, in hopes to connect with smaller parts of the country.

She attended Prince of Peace Lutheran in La Crescent Sunday to share her story.

“In this area, these people they don’t have any connections, when you are in Washington and in New York, you have a lot of people, you have a lot of international figures, or conferences, or workshops but in this area, these people they are good,” Ghazal said.

Ghazal shared the brutal aftermath of war, where over 300,000 thousand Syrians lost their lives, including her own brother, during five years of armed conflict.

She also spoke about the Islamic faith and what it means to her to remain faithful, when it can be easy to give up.

“Me personally, I feel this crisis makes me stronger and makes me have more faith.”

Some church members agree with this message and they say knowledge is the only way to eliminate fear of the unknown.

“It makes me feel like we’re not that different… by having people of other religions and faiths and cultures come and speak to us,” said

“I feel I’m supported by humans who have really good hearts and who will do after my speech, they will make something, even if it’s little, it will go if they spread my message,” Ghazal said.

Ghazal is now working to get a PhD and hopes to work as researcher.

Sunday’s event is part of a tour she’s on and she’ll be making stops in Eau Clair and Decorah, Iowa in the next couple of weeks.

She’ll also be speaking at an international women’s panel at UWL on Wednesday, March 8th at the campus’s Hall of Nations.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m.