A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice:

The Lost Libraries of TimbuktiTIMBUKTU, MALI

In this ancient city that has become synonymous with the ends of the earth, the recent terrorism of Islamist extremists belies long years of peaceful Muslim-Christian coexistence.

“This city is 99 percent Muslim, but all of us are tolerant. We preach tolerance. Islam teaches us to respect all religions,” Abdrahamane Ben Essayouti, the chief imam of the fabled desert city, told Catholic News Service.

The Rev. Moha Ag Oyahitt agrees. He’s a Baptist pastor who fled Timbuktu for Bamako, the nation’s capital, when the al-Qaida-linked terrorists took over the town.

“There were no problems in Timbuktu between us and the Muslims. We lived as brothers and sisters. The only difference was Jesus Christ and Mohammed. Besides that, there was no problem. Whatever we do, we invite them, and they invite us when they have births or marriages. Whatever the activity, we invite each other. When we Christians have…

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