Peace building is nothing if it’s not practical. Here are a few ways Peace Catalyst International’s staff create spaces for Christians and Muslims to build relationships and work together toward peace in their local communities:
- Bringing together people from local mosques and churches by visiting one another’s places of worship allows people to learn about one another’s beliefs, reduce misunderstanding, and overcome fear so that people in each community can begin to form relationships with one another
- Sharing meals at local restaurants or in homes gives Christians and Muslims time to share honest conversation and deepen relationships with one another
- Hosting panel and group discussions with Christians and Muslims interested in learning about one another’s religious views, particularly about challenging subjects, provides a safe space to begin to tackle tougher issues
- Facilitating small groups where Christians, Muslims, and others can study one another’s scriptures together, discover common ground, tackle challenging topics and points of difference, and build relationships
To sum it up in a phrase: Peace building is all about reducing misunderstanding, deepening trust, and building personal relationships.
Most of Peace Catalyst’s work is in the United States between Christians and Muslims, churches and mosques. But what about internationally, like in Bosnia?
Jesus-centered peace building work in Bosnia looks very similar to PCI’s current work in the States. However, the context is a bit more complex. Bosnia’s history of divisions and religious/ethnic tensions is complicated, long, and deep. Within Bosnia, ethnic identity is very important (i.e. Bosniak, Croat, and Serb), and unlike in the United States, Catholic and Orthodox Christians make up a larger majority than the Protestant Church. Islam is also the majority religion – though, as in Christianity, there are different ideologies and viewpoints within the religion. But even with the complexities, relationship building is key for reducing misunderstanding and creating the trust that is required for lasting, genuine peace.