Organized by the Archdiocese of Granada, with the accompaniment of the Muslim Federation of Spain, FEME, and the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, a meeting of art and interreligious and intercultural dialogue was held at the facilities of the Aljibe-Dar Al Anwar Association in Granada, with the participation of more than 20 young Christians and Muslims.
Two weeks after Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq, where he appealed to religious leaders and young people from all over the world to continue building the culture of the encounter, an art meeting and interreligious and intercultural dialogue was held in Granada on March 19 and March 20.
During these two days, 20 young Christians and Muslims, both Spanish and from various origins, from Italy, Morocco and Bulgaria, lived an artistic and brotherhood experience, the collective creation of a mural on one of the facades of the sociocultural association Aljibe- Dar Al Anwar, an activity that becomes the starting point of a journey in which it is expected to strengthen the ties between both communities, encouraging young people themselves to carry out their encounters and projects from now on.
During the activities carried out on Saturday, the space for dialogue between the Archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martínez Fernández and the President of FEME, Imam Mohammed Kaleem Mirza, with representatives of this Association and the La Inmaculada Teaching Center stands out.
At the end of the meeting on Saturday, the traditional Olive Tree of Peace was planted, a symbol of peace and unity that is shared by the Christian and Muslim communities. After these two days of activities, a new space was created where young people could share their experiences and offer their own testimony.
“We want to live as friends, as brothers”: Bishop Javier Martínez, Archbishop of Granada
Moments before starting the final act of the meeting with the planting of an olive tree, as a gesture of peace and mutual fraternal construction, the Archbishop of Granada, D. Javier Martínez, emphasized the fact that we are all creatures of God, facing “the world in which we are”, in which “there are many forces that invite us to separate ourselves, isolate ourselves, ignore ourselves and live, therefore, of labels that we put on each other, or that they put on us from outside. And yet we are all God’s creatures”, he explained.
In this sense, the Archbishop of Granada pointed out the desire to live as friends and brothers: “We want to live as friends, as brothers and get to know each other better. We want to treat each other as persons and as creatures of God. We can see, we want to see, God through every person who crosses our path. That is what this act expresses, which may be very small, in terms of number, but it is very significant. It is a beginning, that we can, with the help of God, contribute to making the world look more like a garden and less like a desert ”, he concluded.
“With the will and with good faith we can change this world”: Kaleem Mirza, President of the Muslim Federation of Spain (FEME)
For his part, the President of the Muslim Federation of Spain (FEME), Kaleem Mirza, thanked young people for being together in this meeting of art and religion, which “has been possible through you.” He also thanked the Archbishop of Granada for his welcome and initiative in fostering mutual encounter and the opportunity to live together an activity such as the one held in Granada with Scholas Ocurrentes.
“We are going to turn this world into a garden, a garden of peace, that has a source of love, that waters human dignity. We are going to sow in this garden with a pure and clean will. And having a clean and pure will, we can achieve the way of Abraham and Moses”, he explained. “With the will and with good faith we can change this world; we can live together like this, full of these colors (referring to the mural), which are colors of life”.
“It does not matter the color, religion, culture or country”
“We are all the same and we can do the same things, with a different interpretation, but the same things; we live in the same world and we share the same world ”, were the words of Amina (14 years old).
“This activity has been very interesting for me and I think for everyone; nowadays we focus on our groups, separately, and we don’t get together. That is why it is very nice to see and have activities like this, because it does not matter the color, religion, culture or country, because some come from very distant places; It is very nice to see it, to be with people without thinking about discrimination, Islamophobia or xenophobia ”, Hamza (15 years old), a young Muslim born in England and living in Granada for 3 years.
Scholas in Granada
For more than 2 years Scholas has been developing activities in Granada; In January 2019, the first experience of its founding program Scholas Citizenship was held, with the participation of 150 students from 11 schools in the city; In 2020 a new edition of this experience redoubled efforts, counting in January of that year with the participation of 230 adolescents, ESO students, from different public, private and subsidized schools.
Likewise, young people from Granada have actively participated in the cybermeetings, both nationally and internationally, that Scholas promoted throughout 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then and with a constant presence that has included experiences of training of trainers, training of volunteers, experiences of art, games and thought, Scholas strengthens its work in Granada until it becomes its first permanent branch in the south of the country.