The Kigali 51st International conference on dialogue between Jews, Christians, and Muslims

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The 51st International conference on Dialogue between Jews, Christians, and Muslims (JCM) on ‘What is Home’ was held in Kigali, Rwanda from 5th February to 11th February2024, organized in partnership between Presbyterian Church in Rwanda (EPR) and United Evangelical Mission (UEM). 65 participants from Tanzania, Kenya, DRC, and Rwanda attended the meeting. Presentations from the three religions on what is home in Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives emphasized that they are interconnected.

A group gathered for the 51st JCM conference in Kigali, Rwanda

In sub-Saharan Africa, the relationship and dialogue between Abrahamic religions would be very essential for fighting intolerance and respecting differences for resolving numerous violent conflicts sometimes from secular causes (desire for political power, a struggle for resources, ethnic rivalries, and economic competition). The conference was an inspiring, good model for the great lake regions of Africa where thousands of people left their homes because of wars.

The home in Judaism is more than just a place to eat, to sleep, and to relax. Home is the foundation, the heart of the human life. It is a sacred space of unconditional love, care, belonging, and acceptance. It is a sacred space where family members evoke memories of departed loved ones and family history. For Jews, more than 2,000 years of living in exile made the Jewish people miss home, namely the land of Israel.

For the three Abrahamic and monotheist religions, love is in the center of every home. To have a home is a natural right of all individuals including marginalized, refugees, and vulnerable people.

In Islam home is a place to obtain peace and provide comfort for its residents. The three religions should provide hope for all people around the world who lost their homes because of conflicts, wars, and natural disasters. We are one in one world for unity of all people. Our home is our future; absence of home is absence of future.

Participants of the 51st JCM international conference visited the memorial of Genocide in Rwanda where they discovered that victims and survivors of Genocide against Tutsi consider the memorial as their home because it is where their beloved ones are resting in peace. Rebuilding a home or a country in ruin can be possible only under the light of love and inclusiveness.

In Christianity, Love promotes repentance, forgiveness, grace, unity, and hospitality for all. Christian homes strive to promote the culture of love which welcome all to enter in their homes with open arms and hearts. This hope is witnessed in the resilience of people in so-called hopeless situations. Christianity proclaims hope so that survivors can survive and continue to struggle even during the most challenging situations. Intra-Christian ecumenical friendship, which is the face of the ecclesiology of friendship, is inseparable from inter-religious ecumenical friendship or social friendship in general. Home as “oikumene” is also understood as “global oikumene,” meaning that this world is globally one, and all its inhabitants are brothers and sisters as one home. Home can have a broader and deeper meaning as a symbol of unity and cooperation among humanity worldwide.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, between 2020 and 2021, home was referred to and considered as the only safe place. It meant a place of refuge, a sanctuary where one could hide from that epidemic contagion.

Isaiah prophesied that “my house should be called a house of prayer for all people and all nations without excluding anyone. My house should accommodate all people including foreigners It should be not a private house for particular people” (Isaiah 56:7). It should be a place where the Lord makes them joyful by hearing and responding to their prayers, feeding them and loving them without exclusion. The house should be a place for preventing conflict, for promoting ethical values like compassion and honesty. All believers have a collective responsibility to protect, to clean, and to create domestic harmony in bringing shalom in homes.

Participants listen to discussion at the JCM conference in Kigali.

Hope away from home is a campaign of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which was discussed during the Kigali 51st JCM International conference. Over 110 million of people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their homes due to persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, and events seriously disturbing public order. The three religions agree that every human being has the right to live in a safe peaceful and secured home and be active in advocacy for human right to a peaceful home. The 51st JCM International conference appreciated the role played by the UN Refugee Agency in ensuring basic standards of treatment (basic assistance, non-discrimination, religious freedom, etc.) to refugees.


We must accept that the world we live in is ever-changing and becoming a global village, and that new challenges arise, such as identity, social integration, and coping with technological advancement. It is, therefore, only in the boundaries of love, respect, inclusion and mutual understanding that we can address the challenges, in order to make our better homes for all.

We are all connected to God and therefore to each other. Excluding or isolating others from their home is sin! To isolate and demonstrate hatred towards others is sin and a rejection of God’s love.

Dr NDAYIZEYE MUNYANSANGA Olivier is a pastor in Presbyterian Church in Rwanda (EPR) and lecturer in Faculty of Theology in the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS), specialized in History of Religions.