10/4/2014, El Masry El Youm
For more than two years I had not been to America. But recently I received a kind invitation from New York’s Stony Brook University to speak about the three monotheistic religions. The invitation was sent to me at the request of Sister Sanaa Nadim, chaplain of the Stony Brook Muslim Students Association, who has lived in America for 45 years and has gained the respect of her colleagues at the Interfaith Dialogue Center; Rabbi Joseph Topek, president of the Hillel Foundation for Jewish Life; Joanne Buonocore, religious advisor of the Roman Catholic Campus Ministry; and Helen Chueng, the official responsible for Christian Asians.
I was impressed by the strong rapport between Sister Nadim and her students. The symposium, in which she introduced me to the audience, was attended by all the deans of the Interfaith Center. In her speech, Sister Nadim offered a brilliant analysis of how extremism, violence and rejection of the other had nothing at all to do with Islam.
Then it was my turn to speak about my experience with intercultural and interfaith dialogue and the institution, “ADIC”, which I created in Paris twenty years ago, as well as its branches in Egypt and Spain.
Sister Nadim is married to the prominent dentist Dr. Sayed Khalifa, a man of great competence and compassion. Their children are graduate students at present.
After my visit to the university, I went to see my friend, Dr. Maged Riad, head of a major New York law firm employing three hundred lawyers and doing regular business with congressmen and senators, which gives it great access to the centers of power.
Dr. Riad was very close to Pope Shenouda III, who stayed with him while visiting New York, just as I did. Dr. Riad , this exceptional man, took it upon himself the task of defending the Egyptian point of view. As a U.S. citizen, who still holds his Egyptian nationality, he wrote several messages to the U.S. president and officials criticizing their bias towards the Muslim Brotherhood and asking them to respect the choices the Egyptian people have made.
Dr. Riad is lending his tireless support to a foundation named the Egyptian-American Political Action Committee, which lobbies on behalf of the Egyptian point of view. Ambassador Ahmed Farouk, the Egyptian consul, is another of the main supporters of this foundation.
I hope to see more Egyptian businessmen contributing, financially and otherwise, to the efforts of this organization. Considering the great number of influential Egyptians living in America, we should be able to put together a lobby approaching, if not matching, the influence of the Jewish one.
translated from El Masry El Youm