KNOW THE OTHER BETTER IN ORDER TO BETTER ENCOUNTER HIM
The diocese of Ghardaïa invited Chantal Vankalck to give an Islamology Session. About ten participants from 5 continents arrived from the communities of Ouargla, Touggourt, Hassi Messaoud, and Ghardaïa. Among them were Danielle and Maria Angeles from Ghardaïa community
Chantal Vankalck from the Hydra community in Algiers has shared with passion and competence, her knowledge, her convictions and her openness. It was a great experience of sharing and openness to better understand the faith of the other, of Islam (or rather “Islams”), the Koran, contemporary movements and major current debates.
The goal: to get to know Islam better so that we can meet in a dialogue where each one lets himself be transformed by the word and the faith of the other. We are all seekers, servants and worshipers of God.
Pierre Claverie’s text on “The Plural of Humanity” touched us:
“The emergence of the other, the recognition of the other, the adjustment to the other have become a big concern … No more walls, no more borders, no more separation. The other must exist, otherwise we expose ourselves to violence, exclusion, rejection … Discovering the other, living with the other, does not mean losing our identity (our personality). We speak of tolerance, I think this is a minimum and I don’t really like this word because tolerance presupposes that there is a winner and a loser, a dominant and a dominated; and that the one who holds the power tolerates that others exist. Of course it is better than rejection, exclusion, violence, but I prefer to speak of respect for the other … the other has the right to exist, he carries a truth, he is respectable.”
The questions that emerged invited us to situate the plurality of religions within our Christian faith, the Plan of God and the History of Salvation. We left encouraged to commit ourselves to the Church and to the Congregation, with greater accuracy in the practice of dialogue between the different spiritual and cultural traditions.
We appreciated the content and we were invited to let ourselves be challenged by the Muslims’ faith and their fidelity to prayer. Our outlook on Islam and Muslims has been renewed, as has the desire to deepen this knowledge in order to better reach out to others.
The new horizon of the mission, is it not FRATERNITY?
Maria Angeles Yániz and Danielle Lorenzoli,