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Franciscan Friary
St. Francis Str. 1
Jerusalem



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Terra Sancta Schools - Franciscan Christian-Islamic dialogue
A SERVICE OF THE CUSTODY OF THE HOLY LAND

by Fr. Halim Nujaim ofm

This dialogue must be founded on three basic principles:

A. "The Islamic-Christian dialogue should be based on the mutual acquaintance between Moslems and Christians". In the Christian school where there are Christian and Moslem students living together, many occasions will arise for mutual acquaintment. They will not only learn to tolerate each other, but they will have the same equal rights and duties without feeling inferior or superior. They will freely exchange ideas and thoughts in many areas and perhaps even in religious matters. All should participate in the educational, social, scientific and religious activities respecting the convictions of each other, while at the same time concentrating on those issues which unite them and avoiding those which alienate them. In this way they will be witnesses for their respective faiths through respect for others. Christianity, contrary to the other eastern religions, does not object to teaching each student the principles of their own religion, and God, who sees everything, will judge us and our good will and religious convictions


assembly

At the assembly

As the school is a microcosm of local society, so should the Terra Sancta school become, in a way a small church for the local society. It should become a link between them. It certainly is an appropriate tool for dialogue between the church and the people and plays a principle role in communicating the church's message to its hearers. It is no wonder, therefore, that the church bestows a great importance upon the school. That is why the church always expects the state to respect its right and establishing the number of schools it deems appropriate for securing the religious education for all their students. It is the right and duty of the church to teach religious education to its children whether they are enrolled in Christian schools and universities or not. The primary duty of the church is to direct people in the way of salvation through the teaching of religion, which not only enhances and strengthens the faith, but also helps them to understand about their world, their life, and about themselves.

Our schools contribute in the understanding of the new world order because education is one of the most important missions that can be performed by a school for the service of society. The Christian education aims at educating the youth in order to help them reach Christian human maturity through the various stages of their faith. In other words, the purpose of religious education is to make the youth aware of the gift of faith.

The Terra Sancta schools emphasize the religious vision of the reality of life and attempts to provide a comprehensive education in all its dimensions and values. Therefore, it is the duty of these schools to secure a close harmony and coordination between faith and culture, between faith and life. In this way, faith does not dominate culture nor does it exploit it for its educational aims. Similarly, culture should not swallow or exploit faith for its own aims in this respect. On the contrary, there should be coexistence, harmony, and cooperation between the two in order to achieve the welfare of man. One will enrich the other.


Children at school

Youngsters at one of Terra Sancta Schools

B. "The Islamic-Christian dialogue should aim at ridding itself of the remnants of the ancient religious fanaticism where Christians and Moslems considered each other staunch enemies". In our schools groups of Moslems are living with Christians and vice versa, and barriers that once existed in the past, such as hatred, antagonism and antipathy tend to disappear. It is sad to say that in the past, fierce wars lasted for centuries because of religious conflicts. But with this mutual learning exposure between them a new era has dawned. We are here to cultivate love and fraternity, peace, and justice, and equality among all members of society regardless of the religious differences..


  Custody Main


 

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Created / Updated Friday, 15 April, 2005 at 7:53:36 am by J. Abela, E.Alliata, E.Bermejo, Marina Mordin
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