A review of the history of coexistence between religions in various countries

The 1st Cordoba Forum “From Islam-Christian Dialogue to the Abrahamic Family”, organized by the FIRCT Foundation at Casa Árabe, continued its afternoon session with a new panel that highlighted interreligious dialogue and coexistence in different countries, such as Argentina, Morocco or Indonesia.

Moderated by Pilar Garrido, professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Murcia, the session began with Dr. Susana Brauner, professor at the National University of Tres de Febrero in Argentina, who spoke about interreligious dialogue in Argentina as a model of coexistence. The professor made a historical tour from the late nineteenth century to the present and the situation of Catholics, Jews and Muslims, in which she highlighted the decline of Catholics, between 1960, with 90%, and 2014; the high visibility of Jews in different social spheres in the 60s; and of Muslims, from the 80s and 90s.

Regarding the beginnings of the Jewish-Christian dialogues, he affirmed that they took place before the Second Vatican Council and were strengthened in the 1960s, with the most progressive people of both confessions being the actors: priests, pastors and rabbis who opposed the violation of rights during the dictatorship. He also stated that it was after the 1992 and 1994 attacks that the religious dialogues were formalized.

Dr. Tijani Boulaouali, professor at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), also participated and defended the figure of Abraham “as the meeting point for the followers of monotheistic religions”, both in times of war and peace. For this professor, Abraham will be present throughout history even in digital times when many deny religion. “Abraham appears as a symbol of sacrifice, of unity, of brotherhood,” said the professor, for whom the theme of this meeting, Abrahamic brotherhood, means rapprochement in a pluralistic society.

He also defended pluralism as an opportunity and not as a threat. He also spoke of Morocco as a place where Christians, Muslims and Jews coexist; and of the Arab Emirates, where there is a Ministry of Tolerance.

Dr. Muhammad Naijb, Indonesian Ambassador to Spain, who gave a lecture on “The Abrahamic Family in East Asia”, emphasized the importance of this forum as a defense of peace, regardless of religion. The ambassador, who explained the main features of his country, highlighted as one of its characteristics the unity of diversity, “which is the essence of its identity”.

The ambassador explained the differences between secular nationalism and religious nationalism in Indonesia, but mainly wanted to emphasize the existing tolerance understood as “respect for others and effort to understand the other”. The day concluded with a guided visit by the speakers and guests to various monuments in the city of Cordoba related to the three religions, including the Mosque, the Cathedral and the Synagogue.