President, Community of Saint Egidio
It means to act as a bridge, between cultures and religions. Because Christians in the Muslim world represent the need pointed out in the Second Vatican Council of dialogue to achieve peace and mutual understanding. It means being located in parts of the world with a certain degree of instability.
The Community of Saint Egidio in Rome recently hosted a forum with several political, religious and social experts to discuss the value of Christian churches in the Middle East.
One of the participants, who serves as a political advisor to the grand mufti of Lebanon, says Christians have a positive role on the Muslim faith.
Secretary General, Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue (Lebanon)
My own experience as a Muslim living with the Christians in my country Lebanon helped me to understand my religion better. This is something very important, because in Islam you have to believe in Christianity in order to be a Muslim.
One prominent Catholic leader from the region says there is much that the faithful from both religions can learn from each other.
Archbishop Benjamin Sleiman
Archbishop of Baghdad (Iraq)
I think that Christians should learn from Muslims the importance of faith in everyday life, and to be strong in the faith. I think that Muslims can also see how much Christians appreciate peace, something that is very important.
While political, economic, and social issues can arise as a result of religious differences, all of the participants said it was important for both faiths to be able to coexist in a turbulent region of the world, and to continue dialogue as a means of respect, debate, and cultural exchange.