FICRT, at the San Juan del Castillo interfaith dialogue day

The president of the FICRT Foundation, Jumaa AlKaabi, was one of the speakers invited to participate in the day dedicated to interreligious dialogue held on July 5 at Casa San Ignacio, located in the La Ventilla neighborhood of Madrid, as part of a course organized by the San Juan del Castillo Foundation and the Jesuit Migrant Service, with Macarena Úbeda in charge of the event.

In addition to Jumaa AlKaabi, who represented the Muslim community, the spokesman and secretary general of the Jewish Community of Madrid, Raphaël Benatar, and José María Pérez-Soba, PhD in History and Bachelor of Theology, who represented Christianity and also acted as moderator, also took part in the round table.

During her speech, Jumaa AlKaabi presented to the attendees the activities and objectives of the FICRT Foundation since its establishment in 2017, including the promotion of tolerance, coexistence and interfaith dialogue; and the teaching of Arabic language and culture.

“The three religions we represent have many things in common: they belong to the Abrahamic family, they believe in tolerance, peace, coexistence and those of us who profess them are able to share joys and sorrows, as happened during the pandemic. At that time, we all came together to help each other, as the San Juan del Castillo Foundation did in an outstanding way, welcoming people, regardless of race, nationality or religious denomination.”said the president of FICRT.

AlKaabi gave as an example of tolerance the United Arab Emirates, a country where people of 200 nationalities and different religions and ethnicities coexist, “living and working together, going to the same restaurants and living in harmony without asking what religion or nationality they are.” A coexistence reminiscent of that which took place centuries ago in the city of Cordoba, where Muslims, Christians and Jews worked and prospered together, building mosques, churches and synagogues, and allowing culture to flourish.

Referring to Spain, the president of FICRT explained that in our country the Muslim community counts 2.2 million people and that, since 1992, the Government has been regulating their rights, allowing them to freely profess their religion.

“Muslim communities in Spain respect the Law, because that comes in the nature of Islam, which promotes tolerance, spreading peace, not imposing on others, giving the opportunity to know each other and not isolating each other,” AlKaabi said.

For his part, Raphaël Benatar gave an introduction to the Jewish community in Spain, which has 20,000 members and which, in his opinion, is largely unknown due to the centuries that have passed since they were expelled from Spain by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492.

José María Pérez-Soba highlighted, in the case of Christianity, the enormous change that Spanish society has undergone in less than a generation and which has led to the existence of a great plurality around this religion, despite the fact that it has a solid base.

Jumaa AlKaabi, president of FICRT, during his speech
Jumaa AlKaabi, president of FICRT, during his speech

One of the central themes of the debate was interreligious dialogue. In this regard, Jumaa AlKaabi recalled the precedents of
the Islamo-Christian congresses held in Cordoba in 1974 and 1979.
The congresses, which initiated a process of convergence that concluded on February 4, 2019. “On that day, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar met in Abu Dhabi and signed the Document on Human Fraternity, which highlights the need to unite to prosper and defend peace,” explained the FICRT president.

A document that, as José María Pérez-Soba recalled, was the inspiration for Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Fratelli Tutti’, which emphasizes interreligious dialogue and peaceful coexistence among members of different faiths.

Jumaa Alkaabi recalled the words of Swiss theologian Hans Küng: “there will be no peace between nations without peace between religions; and there will be no peace between religions without dialogue”. “It is only through dialogue that problems can be solved; if you don’t succeed once, you will have to try a hundred times,” he concluded.