While religion has remained a hushed topic in Egypt’s public sphere, it has become increasingly salient with the rise of sectarian strife all over the country. While my experience only represents one of so many, it alarms me that it took place in a middle-class setting in Egypt’s largest and most developed city. I can only imagine the situation in less developed cities both in Egypt and worldwide where Muslims and Christians live side by side and are taught to tolerate each other rather than openly engage in interfaith dialogue.
At the opening ceremony of the Wheatley International Affairs Conference, Eboo Patel spoke about his Mormon girlfriend from high school and how she helped strengthen his faith in Islam. I found this story to be one of the most powerful moments of his speech as I instantly thought of my Protestant best friend who pushes me every day to become a better Muslim. The wealth of religious diversity at Georgetown and the vibrancy of interfaith dialogue have fueled and enriched my religious journey.
On a larger scale, I believe that interreligious dialogue is a necessary tool for social development and national reconciliation efforts, which are especially pertinent to countries that struggle with sectarian tensions. There is so much to learn from those of different faith backgrounds, and it is important to extend that opportunity to all youth worldwide.