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Intervention of Prof. Marco IMPAGLIAZZO, President of the Community of Sant'Egidio (ITALY), auditor



Prof. Marco IMPAGLIAZZO, Professor of Contemporary History at the University for Foreigners of Perugia, President of the Community of Sant'Egidio (ITALY):

It is of interest to the Muslim societies that the Christian communities be enlivening and active in the Middle Eastern world. A Middle East without Christians would mean the loss of an internal presence of Arabic culture, capable of claiming the pluralism in relation to political Islam and Islamization. Without them, Islam would be more alone and fundamentalist. Christians present a form of resistance to an Islamisizing “totalitarianism”. Their permanence in the Middle East is in the general interest of the societies and of Islam.
Between Christians and the Middle East, there is a need for certainty in the future. This certainty will not come through Western protection. We saw this in the painful history of Iraq. “Certainty” comes from the recognition of the Muslim majority. Not only the recognition of rights, but also of a social and cultural consensus that expresses the will to live all together. This process requires that the Christian communities be “creative minorities”. Benedict XVI stated: “Normally, the creative minorities determine the future, and in this sense, the Catholic Church must feel like a creative minority”.
It would not be proper to say: we are very few, do not be too demanding. The Church does not exist without mission, a dimension to which she cannot renounce. The perspective of the creative minority indicates an issue: creativity. Creativity sweeps away fear. It does not come from numbers, or from political power. Creativity comes from love. It must always be evermore the imitation of Jesus. We must love even more! To be faithful to Tradition is also being creative. Not only is there a Christian past to be defended in the Middle East, but also a vision of the future in asserting, starting with the conviction that all Christians have their historical vocation there: to communicate the name of Jesus, to live it and, thus, to work to build in a creative way a civilization of co-habitation, something the whole world needs. Here lies the duty of dialogue. I speak in the name of the Community of Sant’Egidio which, since 1986, continues to realize the intuition that John Paul II had at Assisi, when he met the religious leaders and invited them to pray, next to each other, for peace, with the conviction that from religious faith great energies of peace can blossom. There is a spiritual aspect of peace, which is the end of war, but which is also the art of living together in harmony. The Middle Eastern Churches could be the artisans of a civilization of co-habitation, and example on a world level, inasmuch as they reintegrate and re-claim the high and strong sense of their mission

[00122-02.02] [UD006] [Original text: French]




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