Newsletter ‒ December 2016

Dear friends,

Sirte, Mosul, Homs, Madagali, Aden, Istanbul, Mogadishu, Cairo, Kamuya, Berlin, al-Bab… Each time blind violence hits an innocent crowd, the whole of humanity is hit. And when this violence pretends to act in the name of God, whole believers are humiliated in turn. What is there that lies in humans that generates all this hatred? What is there in our religious traditions that makes it so easy to justify violence? Does Islam let itself instrumentalise more easily than other religions? Here are questions that each of us should try to answer, specialists and non specialists alike, historians or theologians, humans, simply humans.

We wish you a beautiful year 2017.


On December 13, Mr Eric van Lit gave a lecture entitled “Reflexion on the argument from cannibalism in Islamic theology”. Like many Christian theologians since the second century, tens of Muslim theologians have asked themselves what would happen on resurrection day if someone had been eaten by someone else. Could both persons enjoy full bodily resurrection? Anthropological and philosophical questions of the mere definition of what is a person actually lie hidden behind this issue. What is the link between our identity as separate persons and our body? Another question follows from this last one: what is resurrection? The reconstruction of a body from scattered pieces or a new creation? These are questions that make the issue of cannibalism relevant in theology. (Read here the full report…)

On December 19, Mr Thomas Soubira gave a lecture on “Archeology and water in Medieval Morocco”. He presented the hydrolic structures of the site of Sijilmasa, in the Tafilalt lowland. These structures can be observed on the entire excavation zone: water harvesting, transportation, storage, and disposal of sewage water. They reveal a creative human effort and a great diversity of techniques used to manage such a precious resource in this arid zone. (Read here the full report…)

Conferences and teaching

From November 7 till December 5, Emilio Platti, OP gave 54 hour of classes on the history of Islamic Christian dialogue at Santo Tomas University in Manilla (Philippines).

On December 5 and 6, Jean Druel, OP took part in the launching event of the European Academy of Religions in Bologna. He was invited by FSCIRE, the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Sciences. This Academy aims, among other activities, at organising a yearly symposium on religious sciences in Europe.

On December 8, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gathered in Paris the scientific board of MIDEO. The aim of this meeting was to plan the theme of the forthcoming issues of the journal: 33 (2018) on Muslim theology of religions; 34 (2019) on the issue of authority in the Islamic sciences (Second IDEO conference in Cairo, in January 2018) ; 35 (2020) on Shia Christian relations (IDEO-GRIEM conference in Paris, in April or May 2018).

On December 8 in Istanbul, Claudio Monge, OP gave a lecture entitled “The Dominicans in Constantinople/Istanbul: Continuity and evolution of a mission”, in the frame of a conference on the history of the Dominicans.

On December 13, Emilio Platti, OP conducted a seminar on Political Islam at CISCOW, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Islam in the Contemporary World at UCL, Louvain-la-Neuve.

On December 18 and 19, Amir Jajé gave a talk on “The future of religious pluralism in Iraq” during the conference on “Human rights and religious freedom” organized in Baghdad by the Catholic University of Milano.

Portal of the Libraries in the Orient

On December 9, Jean Druel, OP took part in the meeting of the scientific council of the Portal of the Libraries in the Orient. This project run by the French National Library aims at the online publication on Gallica of rare or scientifically remarkable books that highlight the endeavour of the French and Francophone libraries in the Middle East. IDEO is one the eight partners of this portal, which will be inaugurated in autumn 2017. We plan to digitise 300 rare documents over two years.


On December 14, we had the pleasure to welcome for lunch her excellency Mrs Sibille de Cartier, Belgian ambassador in Cairo, and her husband.

Scholars’ House

During the month of December, we had the pleasure to receive Mr István Lánczky, PhD student at the Catholic University of Hungary, Mr Stéphane Pradines, from the Aga Khan University in London, Mr Ahmad Abd al-Rahim, independent scholar, and Mrs Rachida Chih, researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).

Secretarial Staff

Last, but not least, we thank and we wish all the best to Mrs Chérine Wahid, who completed her one-year period as secretary of the institute, and we are glad to welcome back Mrs Imane Milad, after her maternal leave! They are those you usually have more contact with. Thank you for their precious work.

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