Majed El Shafie

Thoughts and prayers are not enough


This article appeared on

It is time to build a bridge

By Rev. Majed El Shafie, President & Founder, One Free World International

I have not stopped thinking about the 49 innocent victims whose lives were savagely cut short in Sunday morning’s terrorist attack in Orlando. I have not stopped thinking about the dozens of people from the LGBTQ community who are receiving the medical care they need and will hopefully recover from this horrendous attack. I have said prayers for the victims and their families. But thoughts and prayers are not enough.

As a Christian and a Reverend, my heart aches for the families and friends who have lost loved ones. A man motivated by homophobic hatred committed this attack as he professed allegiance to ISIS and its radical Islamist ideology. In carrying out the largest terrorist attack on North American soil since 9/11, we must renew our commitment to battling the radical Islamist ideology that wages war in Iraq and Syria. We must battle the evil that has struck closer to home from Ottawa to Orlando, Paris and Brussels.

The attacker targeted the patrons of Pulse nightclub because they were different. As a former refugee who faced persecution for converting to Christianity and being different, I am too familiar with the barbaric lengths those motivated by hate will take against those they view as different.

During this time of sorrow and suffering, now is the time for people of faith to unite with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in love. As a Reverend, for years I have witnessed the perception that LGBTQ people cannot be loved by people in religious communities. While there may be disagreements on certain issues, that does not mean we cannot love each other. In response to these tragic events, people of faith need to reach out to the LGBTQ community and let their brothers and sisters know they are loved. In the aftermath of this tragic loss of precious human life, this cannot be swept under the rug. No one deserves to die to because of who they love, the colour of their skin, or what they believe.

We must come together in defence of each other and our shared values. We must come together and build a bridges between people of faiths and our LGBTQ communities. People of faith need to find the courage to reaffirm our ability to love one another and strengthen our sense of community. The victims of the Orlando attack were targeted for the same reason ISIS targets Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities in Iraq and Syria in their aim of carrying out genocide. We are all different in the eyes of the enemy and must confront it together.

We will rely on the strength of our values: the recognition of the dignity of each human life, honesty, respect for human rights, and a determination in ensuring we can all live safely in pursuing our hopes and dreams. We must defend these shared values. And this must start by building new bridges to unite.

Our political and religious leaders need to be forthcoming in condemning this hatred and having the courage to identify its roots. Christians, Jews, Muslims, and people of other faiths need to speak out to condemn this violence and seize an opportunity to end the historical tension the LGBTQ community has felt for too long, and begin to fight for each other. For if we do not fight for each other, we lose our humanity. After you’ve had some thoughts and said your prayers, it is time to pick up the phone.

OFWI Testifies at Canadian House of Commons Immigration Committee


Resettling Syrian Refugees in Canada

OFWI President and Founder Majed El Shafie testified in Ottawa calling on Canada to do more to help the most vulnerable minorities who are victims of the war in Iraq and Syria.

IMG_0044Testifying before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Rev. El Shafie presented OFWI's report Resettling Syrian Refugees in Canada and petition with 800 signatures calling on the Canadian government to do more.

5 recommendations were made:

  1. Solve the underlying problem as the source of the refugee crisis
  2. Create Green Zones: safe and secure zones near their home
  3. Greater involvement from countries in the region to resettle refugees
  4. Prioritize the most vulnerable: minorities who often cannot access mainstream refugee supports and appropriate security screening for those welcomed to Canada.
  5. Ensure the proper community supports are in place to ensure integration of refugees who come to Canada into Canadian society.

Read OFWI's Report: Resettling Syrian Refugees in Canada

Fox News Documentary - War Stories: Fighting ISIS


One Free World International has been working tirelessly to help rescue Yazidi girls held captive by ISIS as sex slaves. Rev. El Shafie sat down with Fox News' Oliver North to discuss OFWI's work for a special Fox News documentary.

Please support this important mission: SIGN THE PETITION

Tune in to Fox News 10pm ET Fri, Mar 25 to watch: WAR STORIES: FIGHTING ISIS Hosts: Oliver North and Leif Babin

Fox News - War Stories: Fighting ISISComplete Broadcast Times:

Fri, Mar 25 10pm, re-air 1am
Sat, Mar 26 5pm, re-air 12am
Sun, Mar 27 3pm, re-air 11pm

As Europe reels from the coordinated bombing attacks by terrorists in Belgium, the civilized world continues to face the real challenges of fighting Islamic extremism whether it be on a battlefield or hiding and festering in a family neighborhood.

Here in America, with investigations ongoing into ISIS in all 50 states, this new episode of “War Stories” goes deep inside the confrontation between moderate Muslims and the Islamic State’s extremist ideology. How is it really playing out on the battlefields in Iraqi Kurdistan?

In an exclusive, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford talks strategy with Oliver North. If boots are needed on the ground, whose feet will be in them? Are our allies doing enough in the fight against ISIS?

With former Navy SEAL Leif Babin, we drill down into the dark web and social media to see how ISIS is leading on the cyber battlefield and what more needs to be done to prevent recruitment of their supporters from around the world. Babin goes inside the ISIS inspired attacks in San Bernardino, California with new details about the trail of the husband and wife terrorists who killed 14 people and wounded 22 others.

Review: YEZ!DAY a success


Last week you saw on One Free World International's social media accounts that Rev. El Shafie was going to be speaking at benefit concert to help Yazidis in Iraq. You can watch video from the below or read a guest post as Gary Rose recaps the special night:

I was not expecting a small venue benefit concert produced to raise awareness and donations to help the Yazidis to be a night to remember. Yet, what a night it was. Top notch performers, like Rosita Stone, Jason Davis, Rosa Cervantes and Juno and Polaris Prize winning Chris Birkett, sung with passion and soul in an intimate concert at the Free Times Cafe that kept the audience enraptured for four wonderful hours. The finale of this evening was a riveting performance by singer songwriter, Rabbi Chanan Gans.

It was hard not to be moved. With traditional Yazidi music and performers Khaled Abdulah, Andy and Alexandre Baravi, it was a night of music and song that was the perfect mix of ethnic, pop, folk, Spanish, and David Bowie, performed seamlessly as though all the performers came from the same musical family, jamming and playing their hearts out. Kudos to the organizer, Joyce Aldrich, the speakers, performers, and the audience, who came together to support an important cause, and also to the Free Times Café and their staff. What a night!

DSC_5479 DSC_5601 DSC_5546

OFWI Helps Syrian Refugees Arriving in Toronto


OFWI's Syrian Refugee Initiative on CBC, CTV, &  NewsTalk 1010 in Toronto

One Free World International has spearheaded an initiative to collect clothing and house hold goods for Syrian refugees arriving in the GTA. Over a thousand items have been donated and are being distributed from the Catch The Fire Church December 28-30 and The Well On Bayview Church January 4-5.

Watch below some of the media coverage of the Syrian refugees support initiative:

Rev. Majed El Shafie speaks with CBC News Network:

CTV Toronto reports from The Well on Bayview on January 4: Scroll to the 26:17 of the podcast to listen to Rev. El Shafie speak with Michael Coren on the Jerry Agar Show on NewsTalk 1010:

Watch CBC Toronto's story for their newscast by scrolling to the 17:56 mark.  You can also click this link to watch Rev. El Shafie's interview with CTV Toronto at the 33:54 mark. CTV Toronto Interview