This interfaith dialogue guide blends Scripture (Islamic and Christian) with family systems theory to offer specific guidelines, techniques and practices that can help bridge religious, ethnic and other kinds of identity divides.
It was designed to help facilitators bring together Christians and Muslims in workshops, dialogues, mediations, meetings, interventions or mentoring groups. Although designed for use within the Nigerian cultural context, it is applicable within many other cultural contexts where faith is a critical factor, and where identity differences divide a population, resulting in community rupture or violence.
The work of the Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC) has addressed the challenge of building peace for 20 years. IMC does so by using a faith-based approach to promote acceptance of religious, cultural, gender and other social differences through the use of dialogue and non-violent problem solving methods.
IMC has had a history of promoting healing and trust-building activities in Sudan, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Malaysia, Chad, Bosnia, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Croatia, Northern Ireland and the US. Similarly, PCP’s RSD approach has been taught and utilized in 15 countries, including Burundi, Liberia, Greece, the Philippines and Nigeria.
Who This Guide is Intended to Serve
They developed this guide to help facilitators bring together Christians and Muslims in workshops, dialogues, mediations, meetings, interventions or mentoring groups. It can be used with any group of people who are drawn to its purposes, including traditional and religious leaders, women, youth, people with disabilities, community members, and civil servants.
Different ways to use this guide
To design and facilitate a small group, structured dialogue, one can use the “Plan”. This Plan is designed for a two-hour dialogue and can be modified to suit your group or to focus on a different topic. If you decide to vary the Plan format and/or its topic, they encourage you to pay special attention to the following points:
- The spirit and clarity of the invitation and orientation;
- The critical importance of explicit Agreements to support the conversation;
- The structures for reflecting, speaking and listening;
- The purpose of each segment of the dialogue;
- The way questions are crafted to serve those purposes; and
- The spirit and purpose of your interventions as the facilitator.