Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 15. Nr. August 2004

1.4. The image of the "Other" in the contacts of Europe, Asia, Africa and America
HerausgeberIn | Editor | Éditeur: Agata S. Nalborczyk (Warsaw)

Buch: Das Verbindende der Kulturen | Book: The Unifying Aspects of Cultures | Livre: Les points communs des cultures

The Ascending Converges.
The unifying aspect of religious faith in the encounter between a French Protestant scientist and a Fulbe Muslim researcher

Stanislaw Grodz (Catholic University of Lublin, Poland)


The way people conceive the world in which they live finds its expression in their opinions and forms their actions. It seems that those who stress antagonisms in the world have spoken with the loudest voice and have found the widest approval. However, with a more listening ear we can hear other voices that have not been in tune with the confrontational attitude. If these voices are not only heard but also listened to, we find that they convey a message that our universe is not so much divided as pluralistic and people need to understand and respect their differences while searching for ways and means of co-operation. This view gains a wider acceptance only in our time. However, we still find it hard to accept that religious faith can provide a basis for mutual understanding and help in searching for modes of co-operation. Within the framework of a general reflection on the attitudes present in our world I will briefly present two prominent public figures of the 20th century who, in my view, help us to discover that religious faith does have a unifying aspect.


1. Culture, religion, faith

The views of those who have been eager to define and antagonize civilisations on the basis of cultural differences became prominent again during the last decade.(1) Those who try to discover the unifying aspects of cultures need to struggle against the current of apparently deeply rooted popular perceptions of " the conflict between civilisations " . However, theirs is not a hopeless endeavour, as the projects conducted under the auspices of UNESCO evidence all too clearly.(2) The real problem appears when we touch the issue of religion. There is no culture without one or another form of religion, and as a part of culture religion should not be overlooked. Though this is obvious, the problem of defining religion remains unsolved, especially if the global perspective is to be considered. Some researchers point out that this is a typically Western concern since in many societies

what the West calls religious is such an integral part of the total ongoing way of life that it is never experienced or thought of as something separable or narrowly distinguishable from the rest of the pattern.(3)

The religious and the socio-cultural often merge. In some cases creed and tradition are of secondary value, though

the feeling-based experience never subsists on its own exclusive resources [...] there is an underlying conceptual context of some sort, and its implicitness or verbal denial does not indicate its total functional absence.(4)

A similar problem is encountered when we want to define faith. Jaroslav Pelikan in the "Encyclopedia of Religion" turns to a biblical phrase

the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11,1)

and says that in one way or another such a description could be applied to other religious traditions.(5) He describes a number of "discrete concepts" that should be helpful in reaching an understanding that

faith is the abstract term used to describe that attitude of the human mind and spirit of which prayer is the concrete expression.(6)

It is also appropriate to mention that some Christian sources distinguish between faith and belief. Though both terms have often been identified with each other, we could say that the term 'faith' has a volitional connotation and the term 'belief' an intellectual one.(7)

There is no religion as such apart from the existing religious traditions. As much as cultures appear to be increasingly perceived as positive factors, religions are often seen as a disruptive force in this process. They tend to be treated with suspicion because of the presence of religious discourse in various propagandist speeches and texts. Even the strongest theological minds of our times are reported as saying that there will be no peace in the world without peace between religions.(8) For that reason they advocate interreligious dialogue. Religions seem to be enfants terribles of the processes transforming society and in attaining global peace. While it is arguable that religion stirs up conflicts, it is certain that it can be used as an additional but nevertheless powerful mobilizing factor for such a purpose.

The difficulties increase with going in-depth and taking religious faith into account. It is usually considered as a particularly divisive element. The stronger it is - as it is thought - the greater the obstacle it is considered to be in achieving peace among the nations. For some people promotion of tolerance and openness equals almost losing or denying one's own religious faith. However, such people mistakenly understand interreligious dialogue as a process of negotiations in which both sides have to give up something in order to reach an agreement, i.e. a common stand. Some people even call for exclusion of religion from the elements of identity formation. In order to counter such calls, Amin Maalouf, a Lebanese living and working in France, suggests that the encounter with another religion should not so much be restricted to the examination of its doctrine, but it should also take into account the actions of those who have used that doctrine over the centuries.(9) This appeal for focusing more on orthopraxy, in my view, corresponds with Wilfred Cantwell Smith's suggestion to abandon the concept of Islam and Christianity as two separate circles and to replace it with the concept of "the total complex" that encompasses adherents of both religions. Taking up this idea, David Kerr, a historian of Christian-Muslim relations, wrote:

In Smith's approach 'the total complex' entails more than temporal data, and raises the epistemological relationship of faith and history. Faith, as the capacity to apprehend the reality of Transcendence and to respond to its transformative power, is a universal human attribute, and one in which Muslims and Christians share as the common ground of their being. Their beliefs and institutional traditions differ, but these differentiations - significant as they are - remain secondary to the 'cosmic' issue: that faith, as a divine gift, unites Muslims and Christians in the very ground of their being.(10)

Too often people pay attention to the boundaries of religious traditions, believing that the divisions are marked by them. A Muslim thinker, Hasan Askari, pointed out that these boundaries have not been as important as many people think. The real lines of division cut across religious traditions and reflect more the modes of believing than adherence to accepted religions.(11) In my view, that was the case with Amadou Hampâté Bâ and Théodore Monod. Though both men were distinguished public figures not only in the French-speaking milieu, a brief presentation of them seems appropriate.


2. Two friends - a Muslim and a Christian

Amadou Hampâté Bâ (c.1900-1991) was a Fulbe born in Bandiagara (present-day Mali). After an only too brief period of Islamic learning he was sent to a French colonial school. That move was intended as punishment inflicted upon his family in the lasting enmity between the rival Fulbe factions.(12) Hampâté Bâ served in the French colonial administration for twenty years (1922-1942). Taking six months leave in 1933, he spent it in Bandiagara receiving Islamic Tijani instruction from a close family friend and mystic Cerno Bokar Salif Tal (d. 1940).(13) During his later service in Bamako (present-day Mali) Hampâté Bâ encountered many troubles because of the spiritual submission made in 1937 by his master Cerno Bokar to Shaykh Hamallah of Nioro (1883-1943), the main figure of an off-shoot of Tijaniyya, a group the French considered subversive.(14)

In 1938 Hampâté Bâ sent a manuscript of Cerno Bokar's teaching for comments and possible publication to Théodore Monod, the director of the newly created Institut français d'Afrique noire (IFAN) in Dakar. Their subsequent contacts initiated a friendship between them. From the time of his transfer to IFAN in Dakar in 1942, arranged by Monod, Hampâté Bâ worked for the Institute at different posts in French West Africa as a researcher.

During a year spent in France (1951) he became acquainted with Marcel Griaule and Louis Massignon. Delegated as the representative of Mali to UNESCO in 1960, he was elected a member of its executive council two years later and held that post for four terms. Hampâté Bâ contributed significantly to the preservation of African oral traditions, initially as a researcher himself, then as their great advocate from the platform of UNESCO. From 1967 until his death in 1991 he lived in the Ivory Coast. President Felix Houphouët-Boigny was his close friend.

Théodore Monod (1902-2000) was born in Rouen in a Protestant family and received his education in Paris(15). As a zoologist with a scientific degree he was employed by the Museum of Natural Sciences in 1922 and took part in several expeditions to French West Africa. From 1938 to 1965 he was the director of IFAN in Dakar. In 1963 he was elected a member of the Académie des Sciences and in 1965 moved to France. Because of his broad scientific interests (zoology, botany, geology, archaeology, ethnology) he preferred to see himself as a "naturalist".

He was a convinced pacifist, though he served in the French army in the Sahara in the late 1920s and during the campaign of 1940. Favouring non-violent solutions, he did not hesitate to take part in protests against the war in Algeria in the early 1960s. His systematic practice of religiously motivated fasting began during this period. He became deeply involved in anti-nuclear protests and remained active in that field until the end of his life. His biographer Nicole Vray aptly portrayed him using just three words: scientifique, voyageur, protestant.(16) In the tribute at his funeral Jacques Chirac described him as a wise man, who devoted his life to the search for meaning, understood as scientific research and searching for God.(17)


3. Differences and points of convergence

At first glance a huge gap divided Monod and Hampâté Bâ: a European with a profound scientific training and an African who seemed to be stretched between pride at his French education and a deeply felt lack of his own traditional Islamic one. Emotionally the Frenchman was more reserved, while the African expressed his feelings and emotions easily. One was a Christian, the other a Muslim. Both of them were deeply rooted in their respective religious traditions - Hampâté Bâ in Islam with a strong Sufi slant, Monod in the French Protestantism. However, a more inquisitive research reveals that both men, though coming from such different contexts, shared a similar attitude of openness towards the other. Both were also people of strong religious faith.

In spite of the clear differences that could have kept them apart, they both felt a deep affinity.(18) In my view, it was their strong religious faith that formed the basis on which their friendship developed and flourished, while their spirit of openness provided a necessary framework for such a friendship. In his fourth letter to Monod Hampâté, Bâ referred to "a prayer that soothed his heart". That was a short formula "May the peace of God be with you" that Monod must have included in his letter. Hampâté Bâ linked that immediately with the practice of his Tijani spiritual master Cerno Bokar who had died a couple of months earlier. This seemingly insignificant fact, although Hampâté Bâ stressed that he had seen more than a mere coincidence in it, contributed to the way the African began perceiving his European friend.(19)

Unfortunately, the available sources allow us only to have an insight into the mind and soul of the Fulbe man. Although this insight is restricted to what can be read and deduced from his writings, several interpretations are possible. Hampâté Bâ started calling the Frenchman Mon cher Ami et Maître from his third letter.(20) That was after they exchanged their first views on esoteric knowledge. Louis Brenner suggested that this fact explains the words with which the Fulbe addressed the Frenchman seeing in him an "initiate" who could provide access to the European esoteric knowledge. However, Hampâté Bâ's letters do not necessarily narrow the meaning of "master" to this field.(21) Their friendship had difficult moments, yet all of the early letters begin with the same form of address. When Hampâté Bâ eventually changed it, he began addressing Monod Mon cher Fleuve Silencieux.(22) We may also try to explain his attitude towards Monod in psychological terms. They got to know each other (initially through letters) at the time when Hampâté Bâ badly needed a kindred spirit. Feeling rejected and persecuted by his own he found it in Monod. The fact that the latter was a Christian was not an obstacle to Hampâté Bâ, whose natural openness towards the new and the other had already been well established.(23) Be that as it may, the "spiritual" or "religious" interpretation is no more inadequate than the others, though probably all of them should be taken complementarily.

Their common fascination with the person and teaching of Cerno Bokar Salif Tal formed another important basis of their friendship. This Fulbe Tijani mystic, who was almost unknown to a wider public and died in Bandiagara in 1940, preached a message of peace, love and compassion.(24) Any Christian influence on him is unlikely, yet the short stories he used in his teaching come close to the spirit of Jesus' teachings. Monod was fascinated by this discovery and began a delicate process of rehabilitating Cerno Bokar, who had been sentenced to oblivion by the colonial administration due to the above-mentioned spiritual submission to Shaykh Hamallah.(25) There is evidence in Hampâté Bâ's letters to Monod that he closely associated the Frenchman with his deceased spiritual master.(26)

It was Cerno Bokar who, when asked once by one of his disciples why people from different religious traditions describe what they see in the spiritual world in similar terms, responded that it must be due to the fact that climbing the spiritual mountain they must see the same spiritual landscapes. When Monod asked his Fulbe friend how he would illustrate a fraternal union of a Christian and a Muslim, Hampâté Bâ described his vision in which two people, climbing a spiritual mountain from different directions, meet each other at the summit standing there in the presence of God. He attached a drawing of it.(27) The image of a mountain became an important illustration for expressing their ecumenical ideas.(28) In Brenner's view it also served as an inspiration to form an ecumenical community, in which they both could live and worship God together, although in different ways. For various reasons they were unable to put that dream into practice.(29) However, they both gave clear indications that they were strongly committed to the cause of creating the peaceful co-existence of people on earth.(30)

Although in their close affinity Hampâté Bâ reached the level of considering Monod as his spiritual guide and master, his high regard had nothing to do with proselytism or apostasy. It functioned on a completely different level. There were no indications that they thought about moving towards any syncretistic forms of their beliefs and practices. They stayed within their own religious traditions and made no attempts at converting each other. They were steadfast believers who identified themselves with their respective religious traditions. They openly talked about their religious faith and convictions, while consciously renouncing proselytism.(31) They both affirmed a divine origin of religion.(32) Yet, they also underlined the fact that the Truth surpassed the structures and formulas. God cannot be contained in any of these.(33)

Misunderstandings and difficult moments of their friendship did not come from the religious sphere. They sprang up from ambitions and expectations that led to actions on the levels of economy and politics. Analysing Hampâté Bâ's attitude, Brenner pointed out two significant imbalances that affected the Fulbe man. Apparently longing to be a religious teacher transmitting the knowledge of Cerno Bokar, he was in constant need of funds for the upkeep of his family and for his activities as a researcher. He felt unable to fulfil his desire. Another imbalance affected his attitude towards the "political" sphere. He often expressed his desire to escape from something that he perceived as "an imposed involvement in politics". Yet, he "was constantly manoeuvring politically to achieve his own objectives". Monod "deplored such political machinations and inevitably advised against them".(34)


4. Yearning for peace

Many people long for peace and stress that their religions are religions of peace. Yet, often the same people maintain a false perception that religious faith can only be understood in exclusivist terms, which by definition are hostile towards the others. There are Muslims and Christians who consider those who engage in interreligious dialogue as suspect and maintain that only those who have lost their faith can find a common language with people from other religious traditions.(35) They think they need to defend their religious tradition and tend to see others as a threat. In what way, then, do their religions form them for the culture of peace they desire so much? The formation of a peaceful attitude needs a firm grounding in one's own cultural tradition and a spirit of openness that is free of the desire to dominate and control the others. This is the lesson coming from the friendship between Monod and Hampâté Bâ.(36) All the conflicts spring up neither from the systems nor institutions as such but from the will of individuals nourished by personal convictions and attitudes.

I could agree with those who insist that such examples of affinity, as seen in the case of Monod and Hampâté Bâ, are rare. However, they will remain exceptional as long as people will be more eager to stress things that divide them than those that unite them.

The spirit that permeated the friendship of the Fulbe man and the Frenchman can be traced in some other prominent contemporary figures. When John Paul II called the prayer meeting to Assisi in October 1986, he was strongly criticised even within the inner circle of the Roman Curia. Explaining his rationale for the Assisi prayer meeting in a speech to the Curia in December that year, he talked about the fundamental unity that binds all people together. He also stressed the fact that people of different religious traditions could come together and pray in their proper way.(37)

Jordanian prince Hassan bin Talal thinks that interreligious dialogue helps to recognize the fundamental moral and spiritual affinity between Islam and Christianity. It reaches the level on which, in spite of differences in theology and rituals, people discover that the essence in both religions is the same: faith in the ultimate responsibility of human beings before God. Reaching this level, Christian-Muslim dialogue can move towards the actions that go beyond the strictly religious field.(38)


5. Conclusion

Unfortunately, we are still more prone to concentrate on conflicts and possible areas of discord than on steadfast searching and promoting the examples of peaceful co-existence. Religious faith does have a unifying aspect as long as it is set in spirit of openness. It is narrow and exclusivist adherence to dogmatic formulas that forms a threat to stability and peace. For Monod and Hampâté Bâ it was not so much the formulas that were to be upheld and defended, nor concern about staying within a so-called orthodoxy that mattered but the search for the Eternal. Although they stayed within the framework of their respective religious traditions, they centred on God and not so much on religion because they believed that the ascending converges.

© Stanislaw Grodz (Catholic University of Lublin, Poland)


(1) Samuel Huntington is the most prominent representative of this trend. See his "Clash of Civilizations?", Foreign Affairs, 72 (3), 1993, 22-49 and the subsequent book. See also: Abdelaziz Testas, "Models of Cultural Exclusion and Civilizational Clashes: A comparison between Huntington and Siddiqui", Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 14 (2), 2003, 179-180.

(2) See e.g. or UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in accessed on 2003-10-25.

(3) Winston L. King, "Religion", in Mircea Eliade, ed., "Encyclopedia of Religion", Vol. 12 , New York, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987, 282.

(4) Ibid., 283-284.

(5) He states that whether the term 'faith' appears in other religions is "a matter of how various terms are translated into modern Western languages". Jaroslav Pelikan, "Faith", in Mircea Eliade, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion, vol. 5, New York, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987, 250.

(6) Ibid. In his article he treats such matters as: faith-as-faithfulness, faith-as-obedience, faith and works, faith-as-trust, faith-as-dependence, faith-as-experience, the community of faith, faith and worship, faith-as-credo, faith and tradition, faith and knowledge. Ibid., 250-255.

(7) Geddes MacGregor, "Doubt and Belief", in Mircea Eliade, ed., "Encyclopedia of Religion", vol. 4, New York, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987, 426. From the Islamic perspective there is the word iman that is translated into English as 'faith' or 'belief' and technically means "faith in the religion of Islam, the person with iman being a mu'min". The relationship between iman and islam can be understood as the former being "the inner state of mind one should be in at the time of death - or at any given moment of one's life - whereas islam is activity and conduct through life as lived from one moment to another". Mustansir Mir, "Iman", in John Esposito, ed., "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islamic World". Vol. 2, New York, Oxford University Press, 1995, 186-187.

(8) See e.g. the World Conference of Religions for Peace at: accesssed on 2003-10-25.

(9) Amin Maalouf, "Zabójcze tozsamosci", Warszawa, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2002, 60. The original was published in French in 1998. A similar thought can be found in Hampâté Bâ's writings - we should not confuse religion with the people who practice it at a particular time in history. Aspects de la civilisation africaine /personne, culture, religion/, Paris, Présence Africaine, 1972, 88.

(10) David Kerr, "Christianity and Islam: 'Clash of Civilizations' or 'Community of Reconciliation'? Questions for Christian-Muslim Studies", Studies in World Christianity, 8 (1), 2002, 91.

(11) Etienne Renaud, "Le dialogue islamo-chrétien vu par les musulmans", Islamochristiana, 23, 1997, 134-135. John Alembillah Azumah quotes the Indonesian alim and statesman Abdurrahman Wahid: "My belief and the very core of my own existence reject dhimmism because, as an Indonesian and because of our national priorities, my main thinking is that I have to reject it. All citizens are equal. That is the problem. That is why I do not know what to do with it. It is there [in Islamic thought] but I reject it. So that means plurality should be there in the sense of let everybody live according to their own respective ways... So in the last analysis if I have to choose between the constitution and the concept of Islamic Shari'a on this point I will follow the constitution". "The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa. A Quest for Inter-religious Dialogue", Oxford, Oneworld, 2001, 203.

(12) David Robinson, "The Holy War of Umar Tal: The Western Sudan in the Mid-Nineteenth Century", Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1985, 309-314. For a shorter overview see: Louis Brenner, West African Sufi. The Religious Heritage and Spiritual Search of Cerno Bokar Saalif Taal", London, C. Hurst & Company, 1984, 16-62. Amadou Hampâté Bâ, "Amkoullel, l'enfant peul", Arles, Actes Sud, 1992, 307-330. Three ways of spelling the clan name in English can be found: Brenner uses the form 'Taal', Robinson and B. G. Martin 'Tal', while Jamil M. Abun-Nasr follows French sources which consistently use the form 'Tall'. David Robinson's version has been used in this article.

(13) Tijaniyya is an Islamic Sufi order founded by Ahmad at-Tijani in the early 19th century in Algeria. It spread rapidly into many parts of West Africa and became the main rival group to a well-established Qadiriyya Sufi order. Tijaniyya was not a homogenous movement, and at times the internal conflicts and rivalries were almost as strong as their competition with the Qadiriyya. Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, "The Tijaniyya: A Sufi Order in the Modern World", Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1965.

(14) Brenner, "West African Sufi", 45-59, 126ff. French sources portray Hamallah as a dangerous and subversive person. In the light of recent research this seemed to be an image that the Umarians wanted to impress on the colonial authorities. Although some of Hamallah's followers engaged in violent and subversive actions, he stayed away from politics. In spite of many accusations of being anti-French, none of them was proven. His only possible anti-French action was an attempt to live as if the French were not present in West Africa. See: Alioune Traore, "Islam et colonisation en Afrique: Cheikh Hamahoullah, homme de foi et résistant", Paris, Masionneuve, 1983.

(15) Ibid., 20.

(16) Nicole Vray, "Monsieur Monod. Scientifique, voyageur et protestant. Biographie", Arles, Actes Sud, 1994.

(17) accessed on 2003-10-25.

(18) "Il était musulman et j'étais chrétien. Mais nos convictions religieuses convergeaient vers la même direction." Théodor Monod, "Terre et Ciel. Entretiens avec Sylvain Estibal", Arles, Actes Sud, 1997, 210.

(19) A letter from Amadou Hampâté Bâ (AHB) to Théodore Monod (TM), 26 February 1941. He expressed a similar opinion in another letter: "Ce n'est pas pour rien que Dieu vous a placé sur mon chemin". AHB to TM, 17 February 1942; Stanislaw Grodz, "Towards Universal Reconciliation: the early development of Amadou Hampâté Bâ' ecumenical ideas", Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 13 (3), 2002, 288-289.

(20) The third letter to Monod dated February 11th, 1941 started with such words. See: Ibid., 288-290.

(21) Ibid., 288.

(22) Two letters written to Monod on August 1st, 1946 from the Ivory Coast begin with these words. Ibid., 290.

(23) Ibid., 288, 292.

(24) See e.g. Brenner, "West African Sufi; Amadou Hampâté Bâ, Vie et enseignement de Tierno Bokar. Le Sage de Bandiagara", Paris, Editions du Seuil, 1980.

(25) He wrote two articles about Cerno Bokar ("Dans l'islam noire: un mystique soudanais", Almanach des missions, 1943, 19-25; "Un homme de Dieu: Tierno Bokar", Présence africaine, (8-9) 1950, 149-157) and made a pilgrimage to his tomb in 1945. Monod also spoke about it in his interview with Sylvain Estibal ("Terre et ciel", 203-208).

(26) "Monod was closely associated with Cerno Bokar in his mind. In his first letter after returning from the Ivory Coast [he wrote]: 'L'image de Tierno et votre example ne m'ont quitté à aucun moment. Il y a des choses que je ne pourrai vous dire que de vive voix'. [AHB to ThM, 15 février 1947. As we mentioned earlier it started with a prayer with which Monod comforted Hampâté Bâ in 1941(AHB to ThM, 26 février 1941)]. Six months later he called Monod 'le supplément de Tierno' [AHB to ThM, 9 août 1947 ], and years later he recalled: 'Je me souviendrai toujours de ce pèlerinage que vous avaz fait de Dakar à Bandiagara sur le tombe du Maître' [AHB to ThM, 22 janvier 1968. Monod made that pilgrimage in 1945 (Monod 1950, 150)]." Grodz, "Towards Universal Reconciliation", 290.

(27) Ibid., 293.

(28) "Aussi la vérité est-elle un cime à multiple versants, au sommet de laquelle seulement se retrouveront un jour, dans la lumière, ceux qui l'auront gravi par des sentiers peut-être bien differents. Mais ces chemins convergent vers un centre commun, réalité suprême où vindront se fondre tant de distinctions secondaires ou artificielles qui compartimentent le genre humain au point d'en masquer parfois la foncière unité." Théodore Monod, "Dans l'islam noir: un mystique soudanais", Almanach des Missions, 1943, 19.

(29) "They talked much over the years about how they might establish an idyllic, self-sufficient community devoted to demonstrating the possibility of practical reconciliation between Muslims and Christians. This may have been an unrealistic dream, as Hampâté Bâ once remarked, but it was one which they both deeply cherished". Louis Brenner, "Amadou Hampâté Bâ. Tijânî francophone", in Jean-Louis Triaud, David Robinson, éds., "La Tijâniyya. Une confrérie musulmane à la conquête de l'Afrique", Paris, Khartala, 2000, 303-304; Grodz, "Towards Universal Reconciliation", 293.

(30) "Nous devons, vouse et moi, m'écrit-il, croire que le message poursuivra son chemin et que les rayons de sa lumière éclaireront la marche vers Dieu de plus d'une âme acquise â la Vérité.... La main dans la main, je m'engage à oeuvrere à vos coté au plan divin et pour la paix de tous, c'est-à-dire pour l'avancement du règne de l'Esprit qui n'est autre que celui de Dieu lui-même." Monod, "Terre et ciel", 209-210.

(31) Monod was inspired by the attitude of Charles de Foucauld that stressed the importance of witnessing to one's faith thorough one's own life. Vray, "Monsieur Monod", 237-8; Grodz, "Towards Universal Reconciliation", 285; Hampâté Bâ, Aspects de la civilisation africaine, 88, 91.

(32) Monod, Terre et ciel, 226-227; Hampâté Bâ, "Aspects de la civilisation africaine", 90-91.

(33) Monod, Terre et ciel, 241-242; Hampâté Bâ, "Aspects de la civilisation africaine", 82.

(34) Brenner, "Amadou Hampâté Bâ. Tijânî francophone", 303-304.

(35) Renaud, "Le dialogue islamo-chrétien", 121, 131-132.

(36) "Les divergences tiennent plus aux hommes qu'aux religions elles-mêmes. Par ailleurs, la Vérité Une, qui appartient à Dieu seul, se révèle chaque fois sous un éclairage different, pour completer notre instruction. Mais, l'homme ébloui saisit souvent un reflect et ne veut plus considerer les autres rayons de la lumière." Hampâté Bâ, "Aspects de la civilisation africaine", 92.

(37) See e.g. Francesco Gioia, ed., "Interreligious Dialogue. The Official Teaching of the Catholic Church (1963-1995)", Boston, Pauline Books and Media, 1997, 359-367. For papal participation and recognition of different initiatives directed towards better mutual understanding (e.g. the recent conference in Khazahstan) see: accessed on 2003-10-25.

(38) Hassan bin Talal, "The Future of Muslim-Christian Relations", Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 11 (2), 2000, 163, 166.

1.4. The image of the "Other" in the contacts of Europe, Asia, Africa and America

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For quotation purposes:
Stanislaw Grodz (Catholic University of Lublin, Poland): The Ascending Converges. The unifying aspect of religious faith in the encounter between a French Protestant scientist and a Fulbe Muslim researcher. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 15/2003. WWW:

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