The Episcopal-Anglican Province of Alexandria
Newsletter, October 2022
We are happy to share with you our news and activities that happened since the last July newsletter. We would like you to know that we appreciate your friendship and support to the Center.
May God bless you,
Archbishop Emeritus Mouneer Anis,
Centre for Christian-Muslim Understanding and Partnership Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile phone no.: +20 122 325 1379
I. Lecture: Making Sense of Islam in the Contemporary World Tarek Al-Gawhary, PhD – 12 October 2022, 6pm–7:30pm
Archbishop Dr. Samy Fawzy, Archbishop of the Episcopal-Anglican Province of Alexandria, welcomed Dr. Al-Gawhary, noting that such events help enrich the Center’s intellectual rigor and peace-building influence in society, hence the Church’s belief in the Center’s important mission.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Anderson, CCMUP Director of Academic Studies, made an introductory speech, in which he welcomed his friend Dr. Al-Gawhary, highlighting the importance of his work and influence to advance inter-religious understanding and peace.
Throughout his lecture, Dr. Al-Gawhary highlighted how ancient civilizations pursued spirituality even before the revelation of Abrahamic religions, reflecting the ancient continuing roots of religions’ major influence in society.
Furthermore, Dr. Al-Gawhary emphasized that religions, including Islam, call for truth, goodness, and beauty, citing the Quranic verse ‘there is no compulsion in religion’. Adding that humanity would not survive without overcoming all kinds of extremism, including the religious type. To overcome religious extremism, we should refocus on the principles of Islamic jurisprudence.
Dr. Al-Gawhary trained extensively at Al-Azhar University in Cairo and earned a Ph.D. in Islamic studies from Princeton University. In Egypt, he worked with the Dar al-Ifta al- Misriyya and the former Grand Mufti of Egypt, H.E Ali Gomaa. In the United States, Al- Gawhary founded a digital learning platform, Making Sense of Islam, and Coexist Research International, a firm dedicated to developing intercultural understanding. His written publications include Rewriting Islamic Law: The Opinions of the Ulama toward the Codification of Personal Status Law (Gorgias Press, 2017) and Responding from the Tradition: One Hundred Contemporary Fatwas from the Grand Mufti of Egypt (Fons Vitae, 2011).
II. Symposium: The Role of Religious Leaders in Environmental Protection 15 October 2022
Representatives of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and the Churches in Egypt gathered at the invitation of Archbishop Dr. Samy Fawzy, Archbishop of the Province of Alexandria for the Anglican/Episcopal Church, as well as through the invitation of Archbishop Emeritus Dr. Mouneer, CCMUP Director, with the purpose of fulfilling their responsibility as religious leaders towards proactively addressing the critical challenge of climate change and environmental pollution.
The participants emphasized that it is clear that the world is facing a growing global environmental crisis. In view of this reality and in recognition of the fact that Egypt is hosting the 2022 United Nations Climate Conference (COP 27), and the participating religious leaders expressed their strong support and prayers for COP 27 conference taking place at Sharm el- Sheikh from November 6th – 17th. According to each of their traditions, the leaders stated that they pray for this conference to be a success and a guiding light for the world as it seeks to understand and respond to the environmental challenges we now face.
The symposium resulted in a communiqué declaring the commitment of the participating religious leaders to raise awareness and act in a tangible way for protecting and restoring the environment.
The participants :
1. H.G. Archbishop Dr. Samy Fawzy, Archbishop of the Province of Alexandria of the Anglican/Episcopal Church
2. H.G. Archbishop Emeritus Dr. Mouneer Anis, Director of the Center of Christian- Muslim Understanding and Partnership (CCMUP)
3. H.E. Sheikh Nazir Ayad, Secretary-General of Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy
4. H.E. Chancellor Adly Hussain, former governor of Menoufia 5. Rev. Dr. Wagih Youssef, Evangelical Church of Egypt
6. Dr. Sameh Fawzy, Senior Researcher, Bibliotheca Alexandrina 7. Fr. Damaskinos, Greek Orthodox Church in Egypt
8. Sister Samiha Ragheb, Principal of St. Joseph Language School
9. Mrs. Rene Shafik, General Director for Environmental Programs, Episcopate of Social Services, Coptic Orthodox Church
10. Archdeacon Emad Basilios, Anglican/Episcopal Church in Egypt
11. Rev. Yashua Yakoub, Subdeacon, All Saints Cathedral, Anglican/Episcopal Church in Egypt
12. Mr. Ramez Bekheet, Special Assistant, Anglican/Episcopal Church in Egypt
13. Rev. Dr. Matthew Anderson, Academic Director, Center of Christian-Muslim Understanding and Partnership (CCMUP)
14. Mr. Kareem Gerges, Director of International Cooperation and Public Policy, Center of Christian-Muslim Understanding and Partnership (CCMUP)
III. Administrative Committee Meeting
On the 19th of October, 2022, the CCMUP Administrative Committee held a meeting within which several important subjects were discussed, including: developing the Center’s strategic plan; the committee’s bylaws; evaluating the Center’s past performance while discussing future plans; listening to and discussing the vision and plans of Rev. Dr. Matthew Anderson, Director of Academic Studies; and brainstorming strategies to develop the Center’s resources. This is in addition to the discussion of other relevant subjects.
IV. Welcoming Mr. Kareem Gerges
We welcome Mr. Kareem Gerges who is now helping the Center as Director of International Partnerships and Public Policy. Kareem, after gaining his Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and International Law at the American University of Beirut, he pursued his Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations at L’Institut de hautes études internationales et du Développement, in Genève, Switzerland. In Genève, he worked with several international organizations. Kareem is a wonderful addition to our team.
V. Future Plans
1. Workshop: Understanding Islam
2. Christmas Gala
The Center is planning to organize a private Christmas Gala within the first two weeks of December, to advance the Center’s strategic mission. Invitees would include religious leaders, diplomates, as well as civil-society and state representatives. The gala’s program will include a select of Christmas/religious carols, speeches, and an opportunity to deepen social relations over a dinner.
3. Project: It Is Our Planet, Let Us Save It.
The Center is planning for its first community development project titled It Is Our Planet, Let Us Save It. The project aims to educate Egyptian school children about the causes of environmental pollution and our responsibility to protect our planet and to recover our environment. Our aim is to enable children to see the planet as a gift from God to humanity. We also hope to encourage them to play a positive role in protecting the environment. To achieve this aim, we will use different media tools to initiate discussions and practical activities. Our plan is to involve both Christian and Muslim children to preserve God’s beautiful creation.
4. Adyan Foundation
The Center is planning to partner with Adyan, an important Lebanese civil society organization, to benefit from their expertise in educational projects that aim to instill the appreciation of highly needed values, within school-age children, such as tolerance, openness, and acceptance to diversity and differences.
5. Other Projects
Future projects may include: lectures/seminars every 6 weeks to 2 months involving diverse renowned scholars; summer schools; film screenings; peace-building and conflict resolution workshops; in addition to other development projects, in cooperation with (inter)national partners.