Newsletter – June 2016

Dear friends,

At the end of June, five members of IDEO participated in a symposium organized in Paris by the Catholic University on dialogue of religious and cultural rationales. The many discussions that we have in Cairo between Muslims and Christians sometimes stumble on the following point: how do we take seriously the rationale of the other, when I consider that his/her beliefs are stupid (God’s incarnation, for example, or the literal descent of the Qurʾān)? As was proved by Adrien Candiard’s lecture on June 15, the only possible starting point for a serious discussion between Christians and Muslims is to postulate that the other is rational. Otherwise, the discussion will only be about proselytism or contempt ‒ or violence, as was dramatically proven once more by the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Dhaka, Baghdad.

MIDEO is Online

We are happy to announce that the last issue of MIDEO (number 31) is now entirely available to read for free online, thus ensuring a wider distribution. We hope we can soon publish the older issues as well. Click here to access the MIDEO online…

Thesis Committee

On June 3rd, Emilio Platti, OP, took part in a thesis committee for the defense of a PhD thesis at the Doctoral School in Theology and Religious Sciences of the University of Strasbourg. Mr. Safwan Ebaji defended a thesis entitled “The influence of strategic teaching on the learning and motivation of Syrian students in religious education classes”.

Breaking the Fast

After the lecture on June 15th, a “breaking-fast” party (Ifṭār) was organized for all the participants, about 80 persons in total, who were mainly students. The event lasted late into the night and gave the opportunity for everybody to share questions raised by the lecture.


On June 14th, Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP, director of the French Biblical and Archaeological School (École biblique) in Jerusalem, took part in round table in Madrid, along with the Imam of Madrid Riay Tatary and the Rabbi Baruj Garzon. The event was entitled “Religions in Today’s World”. It was organized by the Spanish Lay Dominicans and was given for journalists, religious leaders and diplomats. Click to read the report in Spanish…->Click to read the report in Spanish…

On June 15th, Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP, gave a lecture in Madrid for the general public entitled “Muslims Among Us: The Challenge of Otherness”.

On June 27th, Jean Druel, OP, moderated an interreligious discussion on religions and the protection of the environment, at the invitation of the German Scientific Center. The three guests were a Professor from al-Azhar, a Copt-Orthodox priest, and a Protestant pastor.


On June 1st and 2nd, Emmanuel Pisani, OP, gave a lecture on Islam and the theology of religions at the seminary of the Priestly Fraternity Saint Peter in Wigratzbad, Germany.


On June 26th, Alberto Ambrosio, OP, was interviewed during the RFI program “Religions of the World” on the following topic: “The visit of the Pope to Armenia: Peace and ecumenism”.Click here to listen to the program in French…

On June 29th, Jean Druel, OP, gave an interview for the website Copts United on relations between Christians and Muslims. Click here to watch the program in Arabic…


Between June 7th and 16th, we were very happy to receive a visit by Mr. Jean-Michel Coulot and Mr. Jean-François Leprince-Ringuet from the French Catholic charity organizationŒuvre d’Orient (“Work of the East”). This visit was an occasion for numerous exchanges on the situation of Christians in Egypt and the importance of conducting joint projects, Christians and Muslims together.

This month, we received visits from M. Máté Lakatos, PhD student of Arab Studies, as part of our ongoing cooperative agreement with the Avicenna Institute of the Catholic University, Pázmány Péter, in Hungary.


From May 30th through June 1st, René-Vincent du Grandlaunay attended the 38th MELCom International Conference (European Association of Middle East Librarians) held at the University of Leiden (the Netherlands).

Five members of IDEO took part in a symposium on the dialogue of religious and cultural rationales at the Catholic University in Paris, from June 27 to 30:


Emilio Platti, OP, was elected president of El Kalima, a Christian center for the relations with Muslims in Brussels. He took over from Mr. Vincent Legrand (UCL), after his resignation.