Home > Synod > 2010-10-23 15:46:19
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Intervention of Mons. Mounged EL-HACHEM, Titular Archbishop of Darn, Apostolic Nuncio (LEBANON), “IN SCRIPTIS”

The Koran contains verses which prescribe tolerance, especially with regard to Christians. The first Caliphs and provincial leaders appealed to Christians to help them in governing. But it is primarily in the domains of culture and medical care that Christians held the top posts.
Relationships deteriorated with the Crusades and especially under the Mameluke regime. At the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, the Arab world and Muslims faced enormous difficulties: countries in Northern Africa had been colonized by France, the Arab language had nearly disappeared, the Turkish empire had begun to become the “sick man”. Numerous Christian intellectuals, in particular the Lebanese and Syrian, emigrated to Egypt and there brought about a rebirth of Arab language and culture.
Today, particularly since September 11, 2001, the Muslim world faces great challenges, despite its wealth, especially its immense oil and gas reserves.
Let us recall some of them:-Its difficult relationships with the West, especially with Europe and the United States of America
-Its political regimes: military dictatorships and hereditary monarchies
-Absence of democracy, of freedoms (of opinion, expression, association, religion...)
-Respect for human rights, according to the signing of the Treaty of 1948
-The status of women and their equality with men
-Tension between Sunnis and Shiites
-Wars and conflicts: Palestine, Iraq, Yemen,...
-Confusion between Spiritual and Temporal, Religion and State
Numerous Christians and associations work on Islamic-Christian dialogue, beginning with the Islamic Section in the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Some practical suggestions for concrete collaboration:
1. Encourage accurate knowledge, even elementary, on one side as well as the other: “man is the enemy of what he ignores”. This teaching must be done at all levels: from elementary school up through university.
2. Create academic manuals which provide accurate teachings of both religions.
3. Encourage mixed schools, and exchanges between Christian and Muslim schools; this is being done more and more in Lebanon
4.Organize joint camps where young Muslims and Christians can live together.
5.Carry out social, charitable, and humanitarian activities together.
It is desirable that religious leaders of the same country take initiatives which encourage collaboration between the faithful of both religions; in Lebanon, for example, The National Committee for Islamic-Christian dialogue, instituted by the leaders of the six most important religious communities, is achieving noteworthy results. The government has created two shared books of history and civic education for all students. These must reach the masses and not be limited solely to the elite.
This dialogue of life is an implementation of the theme of this Synod: “Communion and Witness”.

[00198-02.05] [IS005] [Original text: French]


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