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Dominicans to open world's largest Moslem/Christian library

 CAIRO - 22 October 2002 - 220 words

Dominicans to open world's largest Moslem/Christian library

The largest library of Christian and Muslim literature in the world is to be officially opened in Cairo at the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies on Saturday, 19 October.

The new building holds more than 90,000 volumes in both Arabic and Western languages and attracts over 1,800 visitors each year. With all the major texts of classical Arab culture readily available, the library also purchases around 1,600 new titles each year, out of which 200 editions of ancient Arab texts are published in Cairo.

The Dominicans have always had a keen interest in the Middle East. In 1938, the Vatican asked the Dominicans of Jerusalem to study Islam and to introduce the Church to the Islamic world view. This work officially began in 1944, with the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies being founded in Cairo.

Fr Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the Dominicans said: "The commitment to dialogue with Islam has been a priority of the Order for some time and is even more so after September 11. Christianity has a duty to reach out to any one in Islam who is open to dialogue. The new library in Cairo is part of that outreach. Young friars are being prepared for this work and will soon reinforce the community."