Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, January 28th, 2019: Evangelical and Muslim leaders from the United States, the Middle East and Central Asia are gathered on Capitol Hill for a full-day symposium to explore best practices in peacemaking, dialogue and relationship building. The event, entitled “Envisioning Evangelical-Muslim Bridge-Building Today”, was organized by Unity Productions Foundation, a media production and educational organization, in partnership with Kingdom Mission Society, an intra-evangelical and Pentecostal movement, and the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), an intergovernmental organization that promotes interreligious dialogue to build peace.
Religious leaders, policymakers, and representatives of faith-based and non-governmental organizations are participating in the event, which will culminate with a screening of the Emmy nominated documentary film the Sultan and the Saint, about the story of St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan Al-Kamil’s transformative engagement at the height of the crusades. The symposium and film screening are part of the groundbreaking initiative “Peace Requires Encounter”, which has been building bridges between Muslims and Evangelical Christians since 2017, reaching so far 2,000 individuals and providing spaces in which members of religious communities, many gathering for the first time, talk about each traditions’ teachings about peace.
“I think when you see St. Francis and you see examples of missionaries in the Evangelical movement what you will often see is the spirit of Christ to reach everyone, because we believe everyone has human dignity. Throughout the scriptures Old Testament and New Testament you see the prophets and you see Jesus encountering people as they are and we try and use that spirit as our means for dialogue and conversation,” Alexei Laushkin, Executive Director of Kingdom Mission Society.
“The encounter between St. Frances and Sultan Al-Kamil is an inspiring story of the transformative power of interreligious dialogue. Both parties allowed themselves to learn from the Other, and found common ground in their desire for peace. Today, when we are commemorating the 800th anniversary of this historical encounter, dialogue is more needed than ever. Through opportunities like this film screening and direct work with interreligious dialogue in conflict areas, at KAICIID we are creating and supporting spaces for transformative dialogue around the world,” KAICIID Secretary General, Faisal Bin Muaammar said.
“We are so very pleased to screen our film The Sultan and the Saint during this symposium. The encounter of St. Francis and Al-Kamil took place 800 years ago on a battlefield in Egypt, but its message continues to inspire peacemaking efforts today.” Alex Kronemer, Director, The Sultan and the Saint and CEO, Unity Productions Foundation
“This symposium aims to open a dialogue among two communities that have often struggled to form common ground and mutual understanding. We hope to show members of the congress and the senate that there are indeed fruitful models that local communities can implement to strengthen multi-faith relationships across America.” Daniel Tutt, Director of Programs and Producer, Unity Productions Foundation
“Bridge-building is the only way we can work together to address local challenges in Richmond, County. We have to work together out of a sense of love and respect. The challenges that impact Christians, impact Muslims. Finding ways to work together is what Jesus would ask of us today,” said Pastor James Brigman of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Rockingham, NC
“This summit is a great example of faith-inspired compassionate engagement between Evangelicals and Muslims, and I'm looking forward to drawing greater attention toward these efforts,” said Usra Ghazi, Director of America Indivisible
About Unity Productions Foundation
The mission of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) is to counter bigotry and create peace through the media. UPF produces films that tell compelling stories for television, online viewing, and theatrical release. These films are part of long-term educational campaigns aimed at increasing religious and cultural pluralism, especially among Muslims and other faiths.
About Kingdom Mission Society
Kingdom Mission Society (KMS) is a non-profit ministry dedicated to helping the body of Christ see the work of Christ among each other. Kingdom Mission Society invites and equips Christians from diverse backgrounds to pursue Christ’s teaching on unity, reconciliation, and peace. Our ministry provides resources and experiences to nurture a more resilient and peaceful church amid perplexing times. Our work is ecumenical in nature.
The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) is an intergovernmental organization that promotes dialogue to build peace in conflict areas. It does this by enhancing understanding and cooperation between people of different cultures and followers of different religions. The Centre was founded by Austria, Saudi Arabia and Spain. The Holy See is the Founding Observer. Its Board of Directors comprises prominent representatives from five major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism). The Board designs and supervises the Centre’s programmes