Conference Site Shows "Dialogue Not Impossible," Says Arinze

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 22, 2002 ( Cardinal Francis Arinze thinks the location of a recent high-level conference between Muslims and Christians was a positive sign in itself.

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Representatives of the Vatican and leading Islamic institutions met in Libya late last month to address the challenges of interreligious dialogue.

Cardinal Arinze, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, represented the Catholic Church, while the Muslim world was led by the World Islamic Call Society.

The cardinal told Vatican Radio: «Considering that Libya is a country where all Christians are foreigners, because the law of the country does not allow citizens to become Christians, one can appreciate that even in situations like this, dialogue is not impossible.»

He added: «The Libyans received us with great generosity and we had the opportunity to celebrate Mass several times in the cathedral, and to meet with different Catholic representatives present in that country.»

Each side chose a dozen participants to attend the closed sessions of the five-day event in Tripoli. The theme of the conference was «The Culture of Dialogue in a Globalized World.» The opening session was open to a larger number of people.

Such meetings between the two religions are scheduled every five years, to foster mutual understanding and dialogue.

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