“States are interested in violence and terror. The dialogue and peace work of religious communities is neglected “- emphasized the participants in the international exchange meeting of Abrahamic teams in Mediterranean countries from 4-7. November 2019 in Rabat / Morocco.
“Terrorist attacks are of interest to states and the media. Hardly anyone is paying attention to the work of people-to-people communication”, said Rabbi Nava Hefetz, Education Director of the Rabbis for Human Rights in Jerusalem. The General Secretary of the Cairo Nile Synod, Refat Fathy, pointed out that “the stability of Egyptian society depends on good relations and cooperation between Christians and Muslims.” Abdassamad El Yazidi, Secretary General of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany emphasizes that “through the work of Abrahamic teams, the contents of the Marrakech Declaration are practically implemented.” And the Secretary General of the International Council of Christians and Jews, Annette Adelmann, made it clear that “through Abrahamic collaborations around the world there can be contributed to a reduction of anti-Semitism, anti-Christian Aggression and anti-Muslim racism.”
Immigration of Christians from North African countries
Tens of thousands of North African Christians have migrated to the MENA countries as refugees and immigrants in recent years (MENA = Middle East & North African Countries). Many of these countries are unprepared for this new challenge. So far, there have been hardly any Christians in Morocco and there is no experience living with them.
Participants of the exchange meeting visited the Catholic Cathedral of Rabat, which is crowded every Sunday by Christians from 70 countries. About 40,000 Christian and 3,000 Jewish people live in Morocco. Abrahamic dialogues and cooperation can contribute to better integration and the overcoming of flight causes as well as counteract the spread of extremism. They reduce widespread prejudice against religious communities.
Abrahamic teams in Egypt have been active in 60 religious and public schools and are being offered pre-military education in Israel. There are also events in Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. More information can be found in Jürgen Micksch’s publication “Abrahamic teams in Mediterranean countries”, which was published in German, English and Arabic at the conference and can be requested free of charge from the Abrahamic Forum in Germany.
The more than 20 conference participants held talks with representatives of the Moroccan government and the German Embassy. They also looked at the roles and opportunities of religious communities in the face of climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
Abrahamic forum in MENA countries in planning
The participants have agreed to set up an Abrahamic forum in MENA countries. Some participants were asked to do the necessary preparatory work in cooperation with the Abrahamic Forum in Germany. The next annual meeting is scheduled for October 2020.
The participants are grateful to “Brot für die Welt” and the “Robert Bosch Stiftung” for their support. It was regretted that neither European institutions nor national governments promote this peace work.
Cooperation with the Forum Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies
The participants were pleased that they were able to host the conference as guests of the Rabat branch office of the Emirates-based forum “Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies”. This was already the third encounter with this forum. During a conversation with the director of the field office in Rabat, it was stressed that the “Forum Promoting Peace” and the “Abrahamic Forum” are working for similar goals and that cooperation for dialogue and peace should be further deepened.
signed Jürgen Micksch.
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Darmstadt, November 8, 2019
(Photos of the conference can be requested)