‘Dialogue Across Borders’ organized a visit for a group of 15 students in Catholic Theology and Global Development to Egypt where they met with different church leaders -- a development project for the poor in Ezbet el-Nahl and people engaged in the dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

Coptic Orthodox Bishop Armia spoke with the students about good relations with ‘moderate Muslims’ and when asked about moderation in his view he said, ‘acceptance of the other.’ The bishop referred to Muslims who accept that Christians adhere to a different worldview.

A seminar at Ain Shams University was held about the arrival of Islam in Egypt. The basis for this discussion was a paper of Prof. Dr. Harald Suermann for Arab-West Report. The title of this paper was “Copts During the First Century of Islam and that History’s Relevance Today.”

The students explained on several occasions why they have chosen this study. Some come from religious Catholic families and others not. One student stated she came from an atheist family but was searching for meaning in life. They all want to be active in development, either with organizations in Germany or abroad. For them, this visit was an eye opener while visiting a country and meeting with people is far more affective then only studying books.

The students were accompanied by three professors, Dr. Katja Voges, Prof. Dr. Harald Suermann and Prof. Dr. Simone Paganini who all three showed a great dedication to support their students in line with the course principles.

The website of Aachen University describes the purpose of this course fashioning our lives in such a way “that every single person is guaranteed to be treated with dignity” and “that our natural resources are safeguarded and protected.” The program “combines the multi-layered approach of theological disciplines with other scientific approaches found in the human and social sciences – in particular those in the fields of sociology, political science and cultural geography.”

Dialogue Across Borders is a database of summary translations of Arabic newspaper articles with references to their sources about intercultural and interreligious relations, focusing primarily but not exclusively on Muslim-Christian relations. The database also contains articles with editorial analysis and interviews on the subject.

(Source: Dialogue Across Borders Newsletters)