Thirst for Peace: Christians and Muslims to the Test of Coexistence
Community of Sant’Egidio
International Meeting for Peace
Assisi, September 18th – 20th , 2016
Thirst for Peace
Christians and Muslims to the Test of Coexistence
We are all gathered in the place which Address is Assisi, I would say the Spirit of Assisi.
The Subject is: The whole human family is gathered to pray for peace
It regards the test of coexistence between Christians and Muslims not between Christianity and Islam. But any kind of test is human, is historical, is religious; the test is the social experiences which the humanity lived along centuries and is still. In front of a certain test which is part of the human experience, the basic choices are to prayer for peace, to live in God’s presence in the heart of the Human being. God, the source of peace and mercy guides everyone to live in peace, to accept his brothers and sisters. God is Love. The continuous intellectual and vital dialogue of the daily life for the presence of God in the human’s heart and in the human society is a fundamental choice in order to solve the social and human crisis and work together through love for the service of charity, it’s the ecumenism of mercy.
The ways are:
To find together opportunities of work for the young generations, to work together in a common educational platform strengthening the culture of dialogue and peace, the logic of diversity in unity, for the social and economical prosperity. A healthy and prosper society does not know fundamentalism and terrorism.
To establish together educational and social programs aiming to purify the memories from black historical pages.
To care for today’s women and men.
To work together hardly to implement and establish particularly in the Middle East and North Africa Region and many other regions, the principle of equal citizenship. All citizens are equal in duties and rights, thus there will be not even a space for what is called tolerance, like Dr. Sammak mentioned yesterday, neither in mentality nor in acts.
To broadcast the real daily life of many communities in cities and villages where they live till now together because this is the large majority of people who believe in goodness and who share common values. My personal experience in Lebanon and Cyprus now, could confirm that the people want to live together, to work with dignity together, the families and the parents want to assure to their children a prosper future.
This is the real story of Christians and Muslims in many places all over the world where for centuries, they shared space and time in mutual respect and they overcame various tests that existed, many challenges and serious difficulties of their coexistence. Hence, Christians are a need for Muslims and Muslims are a need for Christians. The whole human family beyond its religious and cultural belonging needs one another to safeguard the common home which could be realised on the basis of the following:
Deep relationship with God;
Openness to the other;
Acceptance of others in their diversities;
Respecting the absolute value of freedom;
The principle of equal citizenship.
All these values are based on God’s Mercy which we are living nowadays in the Catholic Church and where Pope Francis is continually calling us to rediscover God’s Love and Mercy in our life. So in His name there is no room for war, killing and oppression, but in His name we bring life and we spread love and justice witnessing His beauty, and caring for all creation bringing love in particular to the hearts of the human being who deserves to live in joy.
Excellencies, dear Sisters and Brothers, this is our platform in this afternoon, we are so glad to be here all together to share deeply thoughts ideas and experiences, a life that we are living together. I am so glad to coordinate with you this panel and this living space.
† Youssef Soueif
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus
Member in the Executive Board of Caritas Internationalis