It has been 800 years since the meeting of St. Francis of Assisi with the Sultan Al-Malik Al-Kamil. For Franciscans, this encounter marks the beginning of a dialogue between Christians and Muslims that continues until today. In this current age of conflict and persecution for both Muslims and Christians, such dialogue is much needed to further understanding. It allows for learning from those who approach religious thought in an entirely different way. The work continues to bring our communities together and build relationships based on mutual respect, understanding and compassion.
For the last four years during the month of Ramadan, the Archdiocese of Edmonton along with Intercultural Dialogue Institute has hosted an Iftar and Friendship Supper. This year over ninety people gathered at Providence Center to join together in conversation, prayer, friendship and building relationships.
Br. Michael Perras, OFM, along with Ibrahim Long, a Muslim Chaplain, were the panel speakers. They spoke on the topic “Christian and Muslim Relationship in an Age of Conflict.” It highlighted what our General Minister Br. Michael Perry has reminded us that the encounter between of Saint Francis and the Sultan calls us to be “fellow travelers, as builders of civility, and most fundamentally, as sisters and brothers, children of Abraham our father in faith.”
It is events like the Iftar and Friendship Dinner that challenge us to, as Franciscan Sister Kathleen A. Warren says,
“Be Open to the Other
Be Respectful to All:
May we continue to be messengers of peace building relationships with compassion.