Ilona Sābera – portfolio

blogging, journalism, semiotics, short stories


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Christian school in Nigeria more welcoming towards Muslim students

Once more I am writing about religious dialogue. Despite dominating violence discourse I want to share a positive example, this time about Nigeria.

Published on Anglican News.

school

Saint Mark’s Anglican primary school in Kawo Kaduna, Nigeria, is the only church school in the diocese where prayers and Christian religious subjects are not compulsory for Muslims.

Instead of closing the only church and the attached school when Christians fled the region, the diocesan bishop, newly appointed Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has insisted on a more welcoming approach towards Muslim students. Continue reading

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Becoming a “paper muslim” to get married in Egypt

‘You must be Muslim in your heart to get my blessing for your marriage’, her mother told me. As much as I hoped for her blessing I could not promise my heart to something I didn’t understand, I could only promise what I knew – that I would and do love Mariam with all my heart. I cannot lie to those I care about, not even if it’s what they want to hear. This is the story of James who had no choice except lying to the state in order to get social recognition of his love.

Religion and citizenship

In a country where religion, state institution and legislation are strictly bounded, private choices often are subject to a cautious verification process. When personal attitudes and beliefs are regulated by countless bureaucratic steps can they still serve their initial purpose? Stuck in the crowded corridors, piled up on the dusted desks, handwritten countless times by apathetic employees in the official registry books. This is how personal attitudes become institutionalised truths. In such circumstances rule exceptions may be impossible to obtain. Continue reading


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Searching for a dialogue in a desert: hospitality of the Christian community at Mar Musa

Published on EMAJ Magazine

After a lonely and silent climb up the desert mountain, you enter an isolated microuniverse. A group of young people are clearing the table, others are cutting vegetables. Suddenly you are at the table, refreshed after a climb with some water, Syrian bread, tea and goat cheese are brought to the table by a volunteer of unknown nationality. Everyone here takes part in a system which hinges on solidarity.

The ancient monastery Dier Mar Musa el-Habashi of the Syrian Catholic church is located 80km from Damascus and 1320m above sea level. The uniqueness of this place  is due to in its hospitality: open to every visitor, from day trippers who come  to see the 12th and 13 century frescoes to the authentic spiritual pilgrims. Continue reading