Muslim neighbors

A French monk's testimony

A few days after Christian de Chergé’s death on May 21, 1996, his mother opened a sealed letter and read what he had written three years earlier. Islamic terrorist groups had begun killing foreigners in Algeria, where De Chergé, a Frenchman, was prior of a Trappist monastery. Anticipating his own death, he wrote down his last testament. In our current global climate, his words provide a startling contrast to language that tends to pit the Western world against the Middle East and to equate Muslims with terrorists. De Chergé saw Islam as a gift to the world, and especially to Christians, for whom Islam demonstrated the essence of sacrificial love that is at the center of the Christian gospel. His testament highlights a commitment to risking his life by living in solidarity with the Muslim neighbors he loved.

 

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