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DIPLOMACY IN AXUM IN 615: HOW IT SHAPED GLOBAL CONCEPTS OF CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM RELATIONS [Abstract ID: 0517-02]
In 615, the encounter between the Axumite King with some of the first followers of the Prophet Muhammad, who according to some traditions found asylum in Axum after they fled from the persecution they suffered in Mecca, marked the start of Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa. This symbolic event created Islamic, Christian, Arab, Ethiopian and African traditions that are discussed highly controversially up until today, and shaped various imaginations of Christian-Muslim Relations worldwide. The diplomatic way of balancing various interests is a concrete expression of intercultural and interreligious relations between Arab and African actors. The strength of this concept includes the ability to think in relative terms concerning differences, for the sake of common interests. It further shows how political and theological ideas have contributed to this process. These and other findings will be presented as result of a critical historical analysis of the available sources that described the event. The presentation traces interpretations of the event in 615 up until present times and shows how it shaped national, transnational and global understandings of Christian-Muslim Relations.