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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Archbishop of Algiers: When Christians and Muslims pray together

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muenchner-kirchenradio.de: Erzbischof von Algier: Wenn Christen und Muslime zusammen beten

Can Christians and Muslims pray together?  Caution, hot potato as dialogue experts are quick to point to such a question. And actually the difference between the Christian and Islamic image of God makes common prayer at least very difficult: everywhere misunderstandings are threatened . But the Archbishop of the Algerian capital Algiers, Bader Abdullah believes in the possibility of common prayer. Behind him is the experience of a small local church which even in the most difficult time was during the civil war in Algeria, held out hands of friendship to Muslims.

"Not only official dialogue with major conferences on specific topics will help. There are also other dialogues that goes so far that we even pray together: what I call spiritual dialogue. Of course, praying with others does not take place every day. It belongs to permanent contact with these people, conversations, eating and going out together. At the end you can say: Let us pray together ...I think it's fantastic! "

Archbishop Bader reported several prayer initiatives with Christian and Muslim participants. They were already beyond the experimental phase:

"Today, well-organized groups come together. But there are other models, we hold together a conference, let us also pray together! I think a dialogue that extends to common prayer, is a very valuable dialogue. It is more valuable than just holding meetings. Praying means to place ourselves together before God. I think it's fantastic and a very valuable experience. "

The joint prayers with Muslims for the Archbishop of Algiers belongs to the broader "dialogue of daily life together". This idea even attracts reservations and resistance from some Catholics in Algeria. However:

"I think we have no choice. Either we live in a ghetto, remain in the convent, enclosed in a chapel or a house, or because we really live, where we live, and take on the challenge of meeting the other! Even if they have different beliefs from mine and do not share my faith – that is a good chance of encounter. Even if it is not set up specifically. I note, however, that these encounters change the view of others about us. Many journalists say to me after an interview that I had imagined you differently, but now I see that you're an open person. "
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