“In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan: A Model for Peacemaking”
The documentary film highlighted the importance of mutual respect and understanding and the necessity of resolving conflict through dialogue.
As an alternative to violence, Francis and the Sultan offer a new paradigm for encountering, dealing with, and ultimately embracing the other.
During the Fifth Crusade, St. Francis departed for the port town of Damietta, where he encountered Sultan al Malik al Kamil. During that encounter, both recognised that the other already knew God, and thus conversion was superfluous. The Sultan noticed similarities between Francis and the Sufi mystics. Francis didn’t buy into the crusade and war against Islam for the Middle East, rather he believed that we are all brothers and sisters in humanity. A universal kinship connects us all.
The documentary stressed that both Christianity and Islam are universal religions, and that there are many paths to God. After his time in Damietta, St. Francis’ teachings reflected this notion. He urges that his followers that go on missions in the Muslim world live among Muslims as good Christians should live, and that they should preach the gospel only if God wills it. This reflects a commonly used phrase in Islam: inshallah, or God willing. Francis was also impressed and deeply moved by the call to prayer and submission to God, as it reflects humility and simplicity.
A brief discussion held after viewing the documentary. Guest from different Churches and from different walks of life gave comments on mutual respect and dialogue.
PI thanks those attended the screening.
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