This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Egyptians welcome interfaith peace book

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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