Nearly 800 years after St. Francis met Egypt's Sultan Malik al-Kamil during the Fifth Crusade, their peaceful encounter suggests a path toward improved Christian-Muslim relations. Their story is told in Paul Moses's book "The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace", which won the 2010 Catholic Press Association award for best history book. Moses writes that in a violent era, Francis recovered the Christian traditions of nonviolence and of befriending enemies. At the same time, the sultan's respect for Francis in the midst of the Crusade exemplified a Muslim tradition of reverence toward holy Christians. The sultan was a statesman who preferred trade, negotiation and peace to warfare. According to Moses, both men can serve as helpful models today.
Paul Moses is professor of journalism at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. In a 23-year career in daily journalism at Newsday in New York City, he wrote the paper's lead stories on major news events ranging from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to a 1991 subway crash that killed five people.
Moses is the author, with Robert F. Keeler, of "Days of Intense Emotion: Praying with Pope John Paul II in the Holy Land" (Resurrection Press, 2001) and, more recently, of "The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace" (Doubleday, 2009), which won the 2010 Catholic Press Association award for best history book.
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