Director Joe Kelley in Lyon, France
Center director Joe Kelley accompanied board member John Kiser to Lyon, France, where they participated in a festival celebrating the life of Emir Abd el-Kader from December 12-14, 2013.
Joe writes, “So… who is this person and why am I in Lyon? He is the Algerian Emir Abd el-Kader who lived in the 19th century. He led the Algerian resistance against French colonization. In the late 1850’s his resistance, remarkably successful for many years (and cheered on by other European countries and the United States—due to anti-French sentiment), ultimately failed. Rather than sacrifice more Algerian lives, he surrendered to the French.
He was taken prisoner and deported to France, to prevent him from being a rallying point for Algerian independence. He handled his imprisonment with dignity and soon became an international statesman. Everyone from the Pope Pius IX to President Lincoln sang his praises as a humanitarian and a force for good. From France he was allowed to relocate in Damascus, Syria. There he personally intervened and, at some risk to himself and his family, sheltered a thousand Christians from mob violence incited against them in the streets of Damascus by the Ottomans.”
If you are intrigued and wish to read more about the festival, click here. Joe gave a talk about the importance of interfaith dialogue and crossing borders which you can read here, or if you wish to read it in French, click here.
Joseph Kelley, director of the Center for Jewish, Christian, Muslim Relations is currently in Rome attending the annual conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews. The Council had an audience with Pope Francis, and Joe had the once in a lifetime opportunity of meeting him.
Lessons of Faith: Alumna’s Bequest to Strengthen Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at MerrimackEileen Jennings ’64, admits that she spent most of her life largely unaware of the specific teachings of the Muslim religion, and its many similarities with Christianity. But that changed dramatically in 2007, when she met an Afghan man named Israr who has since brought religious tolerance, sustaining friendship, and a new calling into Jennings’ life. Today, through the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations Jennings has reached out to share those gifts with the Merrimack community.