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Interfaith Dialogue and action in Egypt

I come from the Coptic Christian community in Egypt, a community that have often been regarded as a minority and was often marginalized. As a result, I grew up finding myself in a community that is closed on itself and isolated from the bigger community. Until recently, I knew very little about my identity as an Egyptian citizen, about other Egyptians coming from different religious backgrounds- except from the negative picture that was depicted to us about the violence of Islam. All of this changed when I started working in a community development project that brought me in contact with the wider community, helped me break a lot of stereotypes about “other” Egyptians, and made me understand what does it mean to be an Egyptian citizen. Since then, I became very interested and focused on transferring the same experience to my friends and acquaintances in the church and other Christian communities, and offer them opportunities to get more active and engaged in the wider community. One of the ideas that I’m currently working on with one of my Muslim Egyptian friends is engaging Egyptian youth coming from diverse religious backgrounds in an interfaith dialogue and action doing community work together. The project aims at providing a space for the youth to engage in a transformational interfaith learning journey. Usually the youth coming from different religious backgrounds don’t work together because they don’t know much about each other, and thus rumors and stereotypes are developed. Our aim from this project is to reconnect the youth with their common identity as Egyptian citizens.

PulseWire will help me in getting this project on grounds, since it provides me with networking and resources exchanges opportunities. I hope to get connected with women who have worked on interfaith dialogue and diversity projects, and to learn more from their experiences and best practices. I’m also looking to find a mentor who can help me throughout all the phases of project management. I can definitely see lots of opportunities emerging from a network like PulseWire.

Comments

usha kc's picture

Mirette,, thank you for you

Mirette,, thank you for you post dear. I can feel your challenges.

mirette's picture

Thanks Usha!

Thanks Usha!

noreens's picture

nice project

Hi Mirette,

That's a great project you are planning. What a challenge you have ahead of you! It's so hard to break years old stereotypes and turn them into something positive. I spent a bit of time with a group of kids who were brought together (just fora day) with the idea of learning about each other through while learning about recycling. The kids had to make things together using recyclable materials. I also attended a coexistence course which was based around photography. I think there are many ways to go about it - I guess that would depend on the interests of your community.

I wish you lots of luck!

Noreen

mirette's picture

Thanks Noreen. I believe

Thanks Noreen. I believe we'll find a lot of experiences that we can share together, I'm sure I'll learn a lot from you and from your work with Palestinian and Israeli kids. Actually, I love the idea of using arts as tools for bring diverse people together to engage in dialogue and understanding. Thanks for your wishes and looking for more shared stories together!

Stella Paul's picture

Really appreciate

Dear Mirette

What you described could very well be a tale of any minority Indian (including me). Isolation fuels distrust which then turns into hatred. Its a wonderful idea to harness the power and energy of youth to build a bridge of faith. I think one idea that you can consider is, celebrate important dates/festivals involving all. Producing a wall magazine is another. Organizing an ethnic food fest can also help. Everyone/or each group brings dishes that are famous in their own community. You can call it a 'dish with a story' and the presenter/cook describes the story of her community. These are very low cost, fun-filled and faith building measures that will help bring people closer.

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

mirette's picture

Thanks a lot Stella for your

Thanks a lot Stella for your creative ideas. We are definitely going to do a lot of sharing of customs and traditions, as these things bring people together and make them see the richness of diversity.

fem4femmes's picture

Respect and learning...

Mirette,

I am so appreciative of your effort to know and understand your neighbors and to engage persons of different faith in respectful dialogue!! It is always our ignorance that breeds fear and discrimination, and your desire to be aware and educate others will provide a safe space for learning and mutual respect! What an important effort!

Much joy and light to you today!

marissa

"I am the flicker, flame, butterfly ablaze who wants to fly in search of mythical rainbows beyond the rain." ~ Ana Castillo

mirette's picture

Thanks a lot Marissa. I

Thanks a lot Marissa. I believe the same too, if you are more aware of people who different from you, you'll start to be more accepting and loving towards each other.

Beverly Rose's picture

Dear Mirette, I so enjoyed

Dear Mirette,

I so enjoyed reading your essay describing how you are promoting 'One-ness' in your community. While the challenges are great, so is your apparent determination and passion. I wish you much success and hope to read more about your progress.

in peace,
Beverly

mirette's picture

Thanks a lot Beverly Rose for

Thanks a lot Beverly Rose for your wishes and encouraging words!

Hiba's picture

Hi Mirette, I so thank you

Hi Mirette,

I so thank you for your post. Dialouge is indeed the most important step in your journey.

I wish you all the best!

Hiba

mirette's picture

Thanks a lot Heba, I hope we

Thanks a lot Heba, I hope we start the project soon and see the impact it will have on the community.

Ruth Beedle's picture

I am thrilled to read of your

I am thrilled to read of your beginning knowledge of not only your faith in the over-arching network of Egyptian thinking and culture, but your beginning understanding of the religious community around you. It is imperative that we understand each other.

I love the way that you are beginning this process.

Don't stop here.

Always love and hope.

Ruth

mirette's picture

Thanks a lot Ruth for your

Thanks a lot Ruth for your encouraging words!

busayo's picture

Yes Mirette!

Dear Mirette,
Yes, you are in the right place to realize your dream. I could remember vividly now two years ago, my vision was to have Women Inspiration Center in Nigeria, a safe place where Nigerian women could discover themselves and live fulfilled lives. I want to tell you now that with my involvement with this community, that dream is now a reality. My center is registered, we have done Empowerment workshops with about 150 women, We have carried out educational campaigns that have touched not less thatn 500 women's lives. You can do it my dear sister and you are in the right community.

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

To help inspire and guide your Dialogues, please feel free to ask us to mail to you without cost the new 2012 documentary film:
DIALOGUE IN NIGERIA: Muslims & Christians Creating Their Future
http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/groups/7170/members

Love, Libby and Len

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