In this paper, I take issue with the theory and practice of inter-religious competence, based on a case-study of the Samaritans of Nablus. I take as a starting point the contemporary observation that inter-religious relations in Nablus are relatively peaceful, which in most models of inter-religious competence would be considered a product of successfully acquired and implemented inter-religious competences. A second observation, that runs against the grain of all models of inter-religious competence, is that Samaritans do not seem to discuss religious issues in public at all. I try to show that this strategy of avoidance is largely the result of historical experiences, which made “walking between the raindrops” seem the most successful way to maintain social peace. Furthermore, I attempt to demonstrate that the strategy of avoidance is one applied in public, but not in private discourses, which, in turn, I identify as a second strategy of inter-religious competence found in the Nablus context but not in pedagogical models. A third aspect, not mentioned in theoretical models of inter-religious competences, is the political context, which, in the case of Nablus, is marked by a strong discursive emphasis on local and national identity—against an external “enemy”—that overrides any religious boundaries.
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