September 11, 2001 probably represents a turning point in the sharp rise of mutual distrust between Christian and Muslim populations. This seminar therefore took place within the general context of rising fundamentalism in the world and in the more particular context of the war in Iraq.
It is a fact that 95% of Muslims belong to the “South” and /or constitute an important part of the migrant populations in the countries of the “North”.
In many places, Christians and Muslims live together, face the same problems linked with underdevelopment: dependence, poverty, social injustice and environmental degradation. And yet, a great number of countries experience tensions, which are manifested in varying degrees of open or latent conflicts, between Muslim and Christian populations.
For this reason, a Christian-Muslim dialogue on underdevelopment is not an optional matter; it is inextricably and concretely linked with the North-South and often South-South relationship for it involves not only religious aspects but also all the economic, political, social and cultural relations between Christian and Muslim populations.
The rise of Muslim and Christian fundamentalism renders this dialogue difficult, but even more urgent, for – despite the difficulties it may present – it will undoubtedly determine the very future of our planet.
The seminar that took place from 3rd to 6th October, 2003, gathered together an important Lebanese delegation, participants from Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt as well as representatives from Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The responsibles for ILDES were solicited by the participants of other countries of the region in order to maintain the contact between them to follow their exchanges. An international network should emerge from these dialogues.