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Opening 'Paths of Peace' in a world marked by too many conflicts: the International meeting of world religions for peace

Marco Impagliazzo: 'It will be the most important event for peace of the year, a strong message against wars, divisions and walls, in order to restore a soul to countries and continents in crisis'

Berlin's youth message to Europe: No More Walls

The event promoted by the Youth for Peace of Sant'Egidio in the multiethnic district of Neukölln, for a society of coexistence

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October 1 2013 19:00 | Piazza del Campidoglio

Contribution of Alganesh Fessaha

Alganesh Fessaha

President of “Gandhi Association”, Eritrea


I bear the witness of the work for dialogue and peace I experience during the past five years in the Sinai.

I am Eritrean, but I lived in Italy in the past 35 years. Since many years, I receive phone calls, regardless of it being day or night, from Eritrean, Ethiopian and Sudanese refugees who flee their countries to save their life, but who end up being kidnapped by human traffickers during their journey. 

When these refugees reach the camps located in Sudan, they are kidnapped by Sudanese Bedouins who sell them to the Egyptian Bedouins for approximately 3,000 dollars per person. The latter keep them in chains, in the subsoil, close to their homes, and request for ransom, which may range from 30,000 to 50,000 dollars

In order to force their relatives to pay for the ransom, they torture and rape the women. In this appalling situation, a pathway of hope was opened thanks to a noteworthy collaboration with a salafite Sheik of the Sinai.

I actually met Sheik Mohammed four years ago, after the Christian and Muslim refugees had spoken me about him. They told me: “There is a man of Islamic faith who is helping us to flee from the grip of traffickers”.

I went to meet him; we spoke together, and we set up a dialogue coupled with peaceful collaboration aimed at the liberation of refugees with no payment of ransom. In the past two years we liberated 480 prisoners from the grip of the Bedouins. 

Every Friday, the Sheik speaks to the families of the Bedouins who detain the refugees. He teaches them that the Al-Koran and religion at large do not admit practicing violence against people. Me too, as a Christian, I felt myself cherished in the same spirit - spirit of courage and hope. The Sheik protects me, as if I was his sister, and defends the life of Christians as if they were his relatives.

Dialogue and encounter among people of different faiths, joining hands to defend the life of the outcast and the poor, brings us towards unity in the same spirit. Prayer is a daily companion of my journeys, and I retrieve the power of faith when I meet refugees, and when I meet Sheik Mohamed. Today, in the Sinai, the phenomenon of human trafficking is reduced by 30 per cent. I believe we will be able to disband this plague through collective endeavours, and through prayer, faith and the Courage of Hope. I thank the Community of Sant’Egidio for having organized these days of prayer and hope, because they strengthen my commitment. Next week I will carry the same spirit to the Sheik Mohammed, who meanwhile conveys his greetings to you all, and especially to the Community of Sant’Egidio.



in the World



October 23 2013

The courage to hope: three videos

From Côte d'Ivoire to Rome, the images of this year's meetings of men and religions broadcast again on television
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October 3 2013

The spirit of Assisi in Texas

Nearly 1,000 people in San Antonio Texas for the U.S. edition of The Courage of Hope
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October 2 2013

“The Courage to Hope”, also organised in Africa.

Religions meeting in Abidjan, in connection with Rome
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October 1 2013

Speech of the Holy Father Francis to the participants of the International Meeting for Peace “The Courage to Hope”

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October 1 2013
To delegitimize religious terrorism

The Indian intellectual Kulkarni said: “Religious Terrorism divides ‘in primis’ its originating religion”.

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October 1 2013
To delegitimize religious terrorism

Catholic Theologian Puig i Tàrrech: «Terrorism in the name of God is an attack to all the faithful»

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