Egyptians welcome interfaith peace book

May 8, 2017 by and

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Since 1980, A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue by Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk has helped Christians and Muslims cultivate mutual understanding.

An event in Cairo opened doors for the book’s message to make an impact in Egypt.

David Shenk and Badru Kate­regga hold a copy of A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue. — Andres Prins/EMM

David Shenk and Badru Kate­regga hold a copy of A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue. — Andres Prins/EMM

Egyptian Muslim and Christian leaders gathered March 15 at All Saints’ Cathedral to celebrate the Arabic translation of the influential book.

Translated into at least a dozen languages, the book has actually been available in Arabic for several years. Shenk cited turmoil in Egypt as the reason for its delayed launch there.

“If Egypt opens her heart for conversation, that affects the whole Muslim world,” he said.

The co-authors shared stories of how Christians and Muslims have used the book to build understanding and peace. One story was that of Indonesian Mennonite leader Paulus Hartono, who has used the book in his peacemaking efforts between Islamic militia and Christians.

After the authors spoke, a young imam stood to request the book be circulated among all mosques in Egypt to show a way for peaceful relationship.

Shenk believes the imam is not alone in his hopes. “Young imams are pleading with decision-makers,” he said.

Andres Prins, who serves with Shenk on Eastern Mennonite Missions’ Christian/Muslim Relations Team, said the religious leaders “enjoyed seeing a white North American Christian and a black African Muslim being friends. Traditionally, Christians and Muslims in Egypt have not intermingled as friends.”

With forewords by Egypt’s former grand mufti and the archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt, the book has validation for members of each faith.


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  • Conrad Hertzler

    I have asked this question on this forum in the past and not received any answer. But again I wonder, what is the aim of peace between Christians and Muslims? The Bible never asks Christians to be reconciled and make peace with those of other religions. The Bible does make the plea, “Be reconciled to God!”. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation; that is, to bring people into reconciliation with God. If we make peace with Muslims but they die without ever being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, what was the ultimate point of making peace?

    • Emily Jones

      Thank you for asking this important question! I (the writer of the article) shared your question with David Shenk. He wrote the following response. If you would like to be put in touch with him, please find my contact page at emm.org/staff and send me a message. Thank you!

      From David Shenk:

      Dear Conrad Hertzler,

      The purpose of the Dialogue is to build understanding. That is a limited goal. The Dialogue is affirmed by both Christians and Muslims as a tool for creating understanding. We as EMM’s Christian/Muslim Relations Team – Peacemakers Confessing Christ – are conservative in using the term reconciliation for the reasons you have pointed out. Our preference is to use the term understanding or peacemakers or friendship. This is in the spirit of Jesus who commands us to seek to find the persons of peace in our peacemaking.

      There are other books I have developed that focus on witness, or peacemaking, or relationship building. Of all the books I have developed, “A Christian and a Muslim in Dialogue” is the most widely used globally. I think the acceptance of the Dialogue is its focus on building understanding – only that. It is frankly astonishing to have the Grand Mufti of Egypt and the Anglican Archbishop write a foreword. We now have a request to provide 5,000 Dialogues for both Muslim and Christian communities in Egypt. We thank God for this open door.

      I welcome further comment if you wish.

      Peace.

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