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Religion and Society

Priests and Imams in Meeting

What drives two hundred Catholic Priests and Muslim Imams to gather, a whole Saturday, inside a technical high school?  

The need to know better the other, his faith answer the participants. Saturday November 16th, La Mache High School, near Bachut, in Lyon, was the theatre of a whole day of exchanges and important encounters between the two religions. A day organised jointly by the diocese of Lyon and the Regional council of the Muslim Cult (CRCM) Rhone-Alpes; both parts state their willing to go beyond the step of the simple intolerance, even suspicion sometimes, to establish a genuine and enduring trust relationship. It is already the case at the highest level, but this is not enough, as underlines Azzedina Gaci from CRCM: "Since the very important trip we did in Algeria last year, Christians and Muslims all together. We created solid ties. I know that when the Cardinal asks me a question, he is sincere, he is not trying to entrap me; this is a mutual enrichment"; "In parishes, as in mosques, it is necessary to enter in this logic of encounter we are trying to establish. Since the journey in Algeria we multiply conferences, public meetings on this theme, everywhere in Rhône-Alpes. Presently, we are at the very beginning of a dialogue which really starts to take shape, we are beyond the simple declaration of principles", testifies Jacques Bolon for the diocese of Lyon.


In the morning Catholic and Muslims have discussed, within a plenary assembly, on questions related to the organisation of the institutions in both religions, or the daily life of a priest and an Imam. The afternoon was dedicated to more precise exchanges, within small groups, on practical aspects such as the teaching of the religious fact or caring sicks in terminal phase. Since if the difference between the two monotheist religions are not always that obvious, mistrust remains a reality". Do Christians have a responsibility towards the future of humanity?", asked a Muslim during the debate at the end of a joint intervention on faith. " What about the revelation for Muslims, tell us something more about this point", asks a Christian.


Those questions starting from the simple reading of the Koran or the Bible to concrete philosophical interrogations followed one another and had to be interrupted only by the lunch break.


"We do not know each other enough. It is necessary to decompartmentalize and drop the barriers that some spend so much energy to build". confessed Azzeddine Gaci at the conclusion of the debate.