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Angelina Jolie Hopes to Adopt Syrian Refugee Child, Urges Faith Leaders to Combat Sexual Violence in Conflict

( [email protected] ) Feb 10, 2015 12:46 PM EST
Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, who is reportedly working to adopt a Syrian refugee child, recently urged faith leaders to combat sexual violence in conflict.
Angelina Jolie is reportedly working to adopt a Syrian refugee child. Photo: Marcodilauro.com

Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, who is reportedly working to adopt a Syrian refugee child, recently told religious leaders that they have a "powerful" role to play in ending sexual violence in conflict.

During a two-day interfaith conference in London, the 49 year old "Unbroken" director urged attendees, including The Archbishop of Canterbury and William Hague, to raise awareness about sexual violence being used as a weapon of war, and to work towards its end.

"Our most powerful assets are not our armies," she said according to the Tablet. "They are our values. As faith leaders you are advocates for the values of compassion, tolerance, justice and reconciliation."

"We have to speak more loudly than those preaching hatred as religion. I believe we can," she said, adding that the use of sexual violence in war is "fuelled by impunity."

To combat this issue, Jolie urged faith leaders to help lift the stigma attached to rape and sexual assault; to raise awareness of the issue of sexual violence being used as a weapon of war; to confront those who seek to use religion to justify sexual violence; and to demand justice for victims.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Jolie, who is the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, is also currently in negotiations to adopt a 2-year-old Syrian boy named Moussa.

"Angelina heard about him from a translator and she was obviously upset, but Moussa was just beaming from ear to ear and when he saw she was wiping tears from her eyes he toddled up to her and gave her a hug and it was a very emotional moment and everyone was suddenly laughing and smiling," an anonymous charity worker who spoke to Woman's Day said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Another source told the U.K. Sun, "Angie and Brad's attitude toward kids is the more the better -- and that once you have several a few more makes no difference...The publicity would help draw the world's attention to what's going on there...They're crossing their fingers that they'll bring their next child home soon."

Last week, the actress, who currently has six children with her husband, actor Brad Pitt, spent time at the Khanke refugee camp in Dohuk, where about 20,000 refugees driven from their homes by the Islamic State militant group reside.

Jolie discussed her travels to that country in an op-ed for the New York Times. "I have visited Iraq five times since 2007, and I have seen nothing like the suffering I'm witnessing now," she wrote in the piece, published Tuesday. "For many years I have visited camps, and every time, I sit in a tent and hear stories," she explained. "I try my best to give support. To say something that will show solidarity and give some kind of thoughtful guidance. On this trip I was speechless."