Thursday, October 10, 2013
In August, Bernard Brady, Michael Hollerich, Terence Nichols, and Odeh Muhawesh, members of the UST Theology Department, met with theologians from Al Mustafa University in Qom, Iran for a Muslim-Christian dialogue conference. The group also visited sacred sites in Iran; had official meetings with a number of religious, governmental, and educational leaders; and had several chance meetings with people on the street. In this panel presentation they will discuss their groundbreaking trip. Click here for a summary of the event.
Co-Sponsored by the University of St. Thomas Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and the UST Theology Department
Click here for streaming video of panel...
"Christians and Muslims Face to Face in the World of Islam:
Notes for a Conversation in the Twenty-First Century"
Speaker: Dr. Sidney Griffith, professor and chairman of the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages, Catholic University of America
Thursday, September 26, 2013
In the first part of his talk, Professor Griffith will look back at the long history of Muslims and Christians living together in the Islamic world, highlighting three features of their life together: cultural assimilation; interreligious colloquy; and the Islamochristian cultivation of philosophy. In the second part of the talk he will explore what lessons for Christian/Muslim relations in the twenty-first century we might take from a look at the past, now that Jews, Christians, and Muslims live together all over the world, and here in the USA.
Sidney H. Griffith is professor in The Catholic University of America's Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, where his responsibilities are primarily in Syriac Patrology and Christian Arabic Religious Thought. His most recent books are: The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008) and The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of the 'People of the Book' in the Language of Islam (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013).
Co-sponsored by the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning
click here to view streaming video of the lecture...
Qom, Iran, August 17-18, 2013
Four scholars from the University of St. Thomas –Dr. Bernard Brady, Dr. Michael Hollerich, Sheik Odeh Muhawesh, and Dr. Terence Nichols, flew to Qom Iran, for a conference in Qom (August 17-18). There were major difficulties finding a common time and getting visas for this trip; the visas finally arrived July 14, which gave us only about a month to organize the conference. My deepest thanks go out to Dr. S.R. Mahdinejad and to the staff at Al Mustafa University for organizing the conference so well in such a short amount of time.
This was the second conference between our universities. The first had taken place in Rome, June 6-9, 2012, at the Benedictine Primatial Abbey of Sant’Anselmo, (thanks to the hospitality of the Benedictines). A report on that conference can be found at the website of the UST Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center at www.stthomas.edu/mcdc.
Qom is a city of universities, seminaries, and institutes, about 70 miles south of Tehran. There are an estimated 100,000 students in Qom, thousands of professors, usually wearing turbans, bookstores on almost every corner, and a population of about 1.2 million. Surprisingly, there is a great deal of construction evident: a new monorail is being built, along with stations, apartments, hotels, and a new airport. One does not get the impression in Qom that the economy is suffering. It is a vibrant and energetic city with a strong intellectual atmosphere.
This conference was sponsored by (and largely organized by) Al Mustafa University—a university of some 20,000 students, with branches in Qom, Mashhad, and many foreign countries. Also sponsoring the conference was the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.).
Before the conference proper began, we had opportunity to meet with various vice-presidents and leaders of Al Mustafa. They were unanimous in expressing support for interreligious dialogue and for cooperation between our two universities, including faculty exchange and also student exchange. Their Open University already sponsors a number of such dialogues, and seemed to be particularly eager for interchange with the United States. Al Mustafa also has a division of the university which specializes in short term courses and sabbaticals, which would be well suited to faculty and student exchange. They are developing also short courses and modules suitable for internet distribution.
There were a total of thirteen (13) papers presented by 13 presenters. Dr. Mahdinejad did not offer a paper, but was present as the organizer. There were also a number of graduate students present. At the various sessions in Qom, there were between 40-60 persons present at any one time. Most were men but there were three female graduate students present also.
were as follows--they are summarized here in chronological order. Papers were read in English or Farsi, with simultaneous translation available through headphones:
Dr. Terence Nichols’ paper was entitled: “Salvation and Afterlife: a Catholic View.” This was an overview of Catholic teachings on salvation, judgment, heaven, hell, and Purgatory. The paper tried to present the range of Christian teachings in each of these areas, and also to relate Christian views to Muslim views in each area.
Ayatollah Muhsen Gharavian presented a paper entitled: “The Reality of Salvation in the Hereafter.” Dr. Gharavain proposed that the terrestrial world can never be the final abode of our perfection. According to the Quranic view, one’s soul reaches contentment when it returns to God. Today technology has raised many question about afterlife, for example, is the soul simply the information collected in the mind? What if the mind of an 80 year old could be transplanted into the body of a 15 year old, and then transplanted again, and again, would that circumvent afterlife?
Dr. Hadi Sadeqi presented a paper: “The Last Days and the Plurality of Religions.” Dr. Sadeqi asked: what would happen to the diversity of religions in the reign of Imam Mahdi: would all people convert to Islam and other religions be wiped out, or would many different religions continue? He concluded that there would be a gradual waning of the diversity of religions during the last days—gradually people would come to the true path of religion. He argued that if people submit to the true ‘reality’, they are Muslims, even if they call themselves by different names.
Dr. Qayyomi presented a paper: “The Different Facets of the Hereafter in the Mirror of its Different Names from the Perspective of Allamah Tabatabai.” Dr. Qayyomi argued that different names in the Quran each present a different facet of the afterlife. This paper looks at Allamah Tabatabai’s view and description of the names of the hereafter.
Sheik Odeh Muhawesh (from St. Thomas) presented a paper: “Catholicism and Shia Islam: Parallelism in Eschatology and Beliefs.” This paper explores similarity of parallelism in Shi’a and Catholic eschatological beliefs. The writer finds a parallel between St. Peter, the first Imam of Jesus, and Ali, the first Imam of the Prophet. He finds similar beliefs in infallibility and intercession (Shafa’a) in both religions, and he sees a similarity in the Catholic doctrine of purgatory and the Shia view of Barzakh (the stage after death but before resurrection). He concludes with a consideration of the authority of prophets, Imams, and saints, and their role on judgment day.
Dr. Ali al-Shaik’s paper was: “The Non-Christian Salvation from the Perspective of Catholic Christianity, from the Divine Comedy to the Second Vatican Council.” Dr. Al-Shaik notes that in the Divine Comedy, Dante places Muslims such as Mohammad, Ali, Averroes, and Salah al-Din in hell. This reflects an exclusivist understanding of Christianity. Yet Vatican Council II presents a much more positive view of the salvation of Muslims. He thinks this change is due to three factors: (1) Western inclination to rationalism, esp. the belief that each one’s salvation is bound to one’s own faith, (2) modern views of relativism, that each religion has part of the truth, and (3) a revised understanding of the sacred texts on the part of Catholic Christians.
Dr. Muhammad Kashani’s paper was entitled: “A Comparative Study of Islam and Christianity on the Doctrine of Deliverance.” Dr. Kashani noted that in Christianity salvation is deliverance from original sin. Islam, however, has no doctrine of original sin; Adam was forgiven his sin by God, and each human is born with a potential for good or evil, but is not predisposed to either. His paper explored other similarities and differences in the Islamic and Christian understanding of deliverance or salvation.
Seyyed Lutf al-Allah Jalali’s paper was entitled: “The Human Ultimate Salvation from the Perspective of Seyyed Tawoos.” Seyyed Tawoos was a Shia scholar (589-664) who held that only by keeping the faith in the fundamentals of Islam, like monotheism, prophethood, and the Wilayat of Ali, can one be assured of salvation and paradise. In particular “only those who are provided with Imam Ali’s permission would cross the narrow test bridge.” He who lacks Imam Ali’s Wilayat (guardianship) will go to hell. Thus Seyyed Tawoos’ theology is an example of Shi’a exclusivism.
Dr. Qasim Javadi’s paper was entitled: “Universal Salvation (Some Muslim Scholars’ View).” Dr. Javadi noted that there are three types of theories on interreligious dialogue. Some theories reject other religions, and even other Muslim sects, as infidels; some theories hold that only Mustadafin will be saved. But some hold that most non-believers attain salvation. Ghazali, Imam Khomeni, and the martyr Matahhari held these views; Mutahhari thought that 70-80% of Christians would be saved. Further, some Muslim scholars such as Ibn Qayyim Jawzi, Ibn Arabi, and Mulla Sadra, have held that hell is temporary; that after a period of purgation all those in hell would reach salvation.
Dr. Bernard Brady presented a paper: “What Must I do to Inherit Eternal Life? A Reflection on Luke 10:25-42.” This paper is a reflection on the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the nature of love. In the parable, a lawyer asks Jesus: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus tells the parable in return. The parable stresses the role of love and compassion for one’s neighbor. But today everyone is our neighbor. The centrality of love is also stated by the Muslim document A Common Word, which explains the centrality of love of God and love of neighbor in the Islamic tradition. Finally, Dr. Brady’s paper explains five aspects of love: Love is emotion; love responds to the one loved; love affirms; love unites; love endures.
Dr. Mohammad Mahdi Feghhi presented a paper: “Pluralism of Salvation in the Light of Mulla Sadra’s Philosophical Structures.” According to Mulla Sadra, salvation in the hereafter is a gradational process, with many levels, so that everyone is ranked in accordance with his or her level of knowledge of reality and struggle in doing good deeds. This is because existence involves levels of gradation, and so does knowledge. Salvation depends on human cognition and knowledge, and since there are gradations in levels of knowledge and of existence, there are also gradations in the levels of salvation.
Dr. Michael Hollerich presented a paper: “Last Things: Early Christianity on the Afterlife and the End of the World.” Though Dr. Hollerich’s paper included the views of Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen of Alexandria, Aphrahat (the Persian Sage), and Ephrem the Syrian, and Augustine, in reading the paper he only had time to explain the views of Origen and Ephrem. Origen believed that God, through the Logos, created rational intelligences, who contemplated the Logos and God. But their love gradually ‘cooled’ and they fell into various levels of creation: some became angels, some visible heavenly bodies (stars, planets), some humans, and some demons. Thus original sin for Origen included a pre-cosmic fall. Origen speculated about the eventual purification of souls, in this world but also in other possible worlds (a kind of parallel with later Catholic teaching of purgatory), a purification that might include Satan and the fallen angels as well. Ephrem is known for composing a book “Hymns on Paradise,” which pictured paradise as a garden, which existed at the beginning of creation and also at the end, as the abode of the just. He imagines paradise as a mountain, with God at the top, Adam and Eve at the lowest level, and the just occupying the intermediate levels, in accord with their labors. Ephrem also asks whether there is a possibility for post-mortem repentance by the damned, but refrains from answering one way or the other – though he hopes it is possible.
Dr. M. H. Zamani presented a paper: “Salvation according to the Quran.” He outlined 32 points or factors in salvation: monotheism or faith in God, faith in revelation and in the divine books, faith in the prophets and the last prophet, good deeds, purifying souls, good deeds outweighing bad deeds, praying and worshipping God, helping the needy, repentance, being trustworthy, fighting oppression, being patient, not reconciling with enemies of God, inviting others to do good and refrain from evil, and accepting the kingdom of God.
At the end of the two day conference, a summary statement was read in Farsi and in English. That statement follows:
Final Statement of the Conference:
Academic dialog for the purpose of better discovering the truth and becoming closer to each other in heart and thought, and having amicable contact between humans is a blessed matter. An example of this is taking place by two groups of academics of Al Mustafa University and the University of St. Thomas.
This is the second conference which has taken place, in the Holy city of Qom, and the participants emphasize the following points:
First, we, the participants, place great emphasis on the common grounds between Shia Muslims and Catholic Christians. We believe that the foremost and greatest commonality between us is worshipping the one God, life after death, prophet-hood, and preservation of authority over the faith. Albeit, we acknowledge the existence of differing viewpoints, we believe that these differences can be addressed through meaningful dialog.
Second, we believe there are many commonalities between our faiths relating to Justificaion and the hereafter, examples of which are the belief in intercession, purgatory (Barzakh), heaven and hell, and that faith and good works are inseparable fundamentals for justification.
Participants in the conference believe that the path toward Justification (salvation) of mankind is through faith in God.
We propose the naming of a “Day of Abraham” to act as a catalyst for the gathering of leaders of Abrahamic and monotheistic faiths. Al Mustafa International University and the University of St. Thomas should work together for the recognition of such a day by various world organizations.
The participants agreed to hold our next annual meeting at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and that the subject of our next conference will be “The model lifestyle envisaged by Shias and Catholics.”
Fifth, Participants put emphasis on continuing cooperation between Al-Mustafa Inernational University and St. Thomas University in research and educational fields and other concentrations.
After the conference, on Tuesday 8/20/13, we drove to Isfahan. There the Armenian Bishop Papken Tcharian of the diocese of Isfahan spoke appreciatively of his Church’s relationship with the Muslims in Iran. The Armenians have their own school, seminaries, freedom of worship, and can teach what they liked, though they cannot proselytize. He noted that in Azerbaijan, north of Iran, the Muslims there had destroyed Christian crosses in cemeteries, but nothing like that has happened in Iran. We also spoke with Robert Beglarian, one of the Armenian representatives in the Iranian parliament. (Iran has an elected parliament, with seats reserved for Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians). He confirmed what the bishop had said. When asked if the Armenians could accept a Muslim convert, he seemed a bit uncomfortable, and said it had never happened. (Note: some Christian churches have been closed in Iran, specifically an Assemblies of God Church in Tehran. But this was due to proselytizing. It seems that religious freedom in Iran does not yet extend to freedom of Muslims to convert to another religion. Iranian attitude to the Jews is more complex—the Mullahs are in principle open to dialogue with Jews—there are some Jews in Iran. However, they are very suspicious of what they call Zionism. We did not press this point, [or the state of the Bahais in Iran] given that we we there to focus on theology, were their guests, and were still getting to know each other, but it probably will come up in future discussions.)
That afternoon we flew to Mashhad. At Mashhad we had a short conference with scholars from Al Mustafa in Mashhad. We also had a chance to visit the Shrine of Imam Reza, and to meet with the President of Al Mustafa, and with Ayatollah Shirazi.
The Ayatollah, speaking in Farsi, greeted our delegation warmly. We introduced ourselves, then gave him a letter from the President of St. Thomas, Dr. Julie Sullivan, which he said he would answer at a later time. He then made the following points about Iran. In Iran there are over 2.5 million University students and 100,000 professors; about 2000 universities and 500 academic journals. The graduate and post graduate fields are flourishing; there is a strong seminary system. Academics, he said, should be pioneers in crossing the imaginary borders of dogmas and intolerance. He thought there should be an umbrella plan for interreligious dialogue which would facilitate Muslim and Christian coming together. Scholarly understanding can facilitate this coming together, and fight the phobia of misunderstanding. He hoped that scholarly exchanges will provide a ground in the future for a better understanding between Islam and Christianity.
We were also able to meet with Ayatollah Shirazi, one of the leading Ayatollah’s in Iran, a man of about 80 years old, who was extremely busy, but met with us for half an hour. He made the following points: (as translated from the Farsi, according to Odeh’s and Terry’s notes and recollection):
Dialogue is not a luxury but a necessity in a world full of strife, especially with what we see in the Middle East. If we don’t engage in meaningful and respectful dialogue the whole world will bleed with the Middle East. Dialogue should first be conducted between people of faith and not left to politicians or media people as politicians will focus on what will further their own causes, and the media tend to focus on what sells. Academics and people of faith seek what brings people together and build bridges of understanding. We must engage in face to face dialogue for if we limit our discussion to reading books about each other we will never understand one another. Face to face dialogue allows us to feel and see each other’s presence, and should be done with sincerity and mutual respect. Our goal should be to seek to understand that which brings us closer to one another but not to convert one another, we want Muslims to remain Muslim and Christians to remain Christian.
What you are doing by engaging in this dialogue is truly the Greatest of Jihad.
Please send our Salam to the American people and tell them that we wish them the best and that we want peace and harmony for them, as we want of them to wish the same for us and treat us with respect and justice. We want a new beginning; we need to forget the past.
As I am often interviewed by global media, I always ask journalists to compare Iran that they heard about and the Iran they experienced. They always state that there are two Irans; one that is misrepresented in the media in the West, and one that you see when you come to experience it for yourselves. We ask that you tell the American people about the Iran you experienced for yourselves, and we welcome all Americans to come visit Iran to see it for themselves.
I pray for your continued success and stress the importance of continued dialogue.
From Mashhad we flew out at 12:20 a.m. to Tehran, then to Istanbul, then to New York, then to Minneapolis, arriving home about 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug 22nd.
As the summary statement indicates, we are tentatively planning a conference in June, 2014, at the University of St. Thomas. The best dates appear to be the week of June 15-21. Our tentative topic is: “The Model Lifestyle Envisaged by Shias and Catholics.” We are also developing a document of agreement between Al Mustafa and the University of St. Thomas, which would formalize our cooperative arrangement, and lay the basis for long term faculty exchange and possibly student exchange.
First, we want to acknowledge the wonderful hospitality of our Iranian hosts. We were greeted at the Tehran airport at 4:30 in the morning by Daoud and Hussein, with fresh red roses for each one of us. We were escorted through Iran by four persons, one a busy senior official (Dr. Mahdinejad) of the University. Our accommodations were excellent. We were also impressed by the cordiality of the Iranian people. Often when they heard us speaking English on the street, they would join us in the conversation, themselves speaking English. Several of them told us they “love” America. For some reason Iranians like Americans though they dislike our government.
In addition to the papers themselves, the greatest fruit of the conference was probably the experience of meeting and conversing face to face. This engendered a mutual trust and respect that could not have been created through writing or e mails. We were able to meet and get to know many professors at Al Mustafa, but also many graduate students—there were about 40-60 persons present at the conference at any given time. Ayatollah Gharavian summed it up best when he said “God is happy with our work here.” We did not have to convince the Iranians of the value of interfaith dialogue: they already realize it and are committed to it, as the summary statement indicates. And while there are a lot of differences between Shia Muslims and Catholic Christians, there are greater similarities. Al Mustafa seems genuinely committed to collaborative work with St. Thomas, and we are presently exploring how we can work together in the future.
There are many obstacles to our dialogue: The international tension between our countries, the physical distance between us, which requires air travel of some 25-30 hours to bridge, the difficulty of the visa process, different languages, the history of polemics between Christianity and Islam, and deep doctrinal differences (Muslims do not accept the Trinity or Incarnation, Christians do not accept Mohammad as the Seal of the Prophets). But the potential or fruitful cooperation between Christians and Muslims is enormous—over half the world is Muslim or Christian. Imagine if we were to work together as allies and partners rather than as enemies. As difficult as this goal may be, it seems already to be endorsed by most of the participants of our conference.
Finally, it is worth noting that dialogue between Iran and the U.S. has been largely in the hands of politicians and diplomats, whose primary interest is national self-interest. But, as Ayatollah Shirazi put it, the deepest dialogue is between people of faith, who strive to put their self-interest aside and seek the will of God through mutual understanding. The voices of those who believe together in the one God have scarcely been heard in this long and troubled relationship. But perhaps now is the time for the voices of believers to be heard and to make a difference.
Reported by Dr. Terence Nichols, Professor, Theology Department, and Co-Director, Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, The University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
The object of the panel was to help the audience understand what challenges Muslims in the Twin Cities community are facing and how Muslim leaders are helping the community overcome these challenges. This was an opportunity to educate and to bring an awareness to the public/students about Islam and Muslims,
click here for streaming video of panel...
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Christians and other non-Muslims are often surprised to discover that many biblical figures are mentioned in the Qur’an. This lecture explored this phenomenon by discussing the roles several prominent biblical characters play in Islam’s sacred text.
John Kaltner is the Virginia Ballou McGehee Professor of Muslim-Christian Relations at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, where he teaches courses on the Bible, Islam, and the Arabic language. Among his books are Introducing the Qur’an for Today’s Reader (Fortress Press, 2011); What Do Our Neighbors Believe? Questions and Answers on Judaism, Christianity and Islam [with Howard R. Greenstein and Kendra G. Hotz] (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007); Inquiring of Joseph: Getting to Know a Biblical Character through the Qur’an (Liturgical Press, 2003); Islam: What Non-Muslims Should Know (Fortress Press, 2003); and Ishmael Instructs Isaac: An Introduction to the Qur’an for Bible Readers (Liturgical Press, 1999).
Co-hosted by the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning
Free and open to the public
click here for streaming video of lecture
Speakers: Professor Robert Vischer, University of St. Thomas, and
Professor Abdulwahid Qalinle, University of Minnesota
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Rob Vischer, Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, and Abdulwahid Qalinle, Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School and director of its Islamic Law and Human Rights Program, presented the dangerous precedence of Anti-Sharia law from a Catholic and Muslim perspective.
Co-sponsored by the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and The Murphy Institute
Click here for streaming video of the lecture
Speakers: Dr. Terence Nichols and Sheik Odeh Muhawesh
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
After many difficulties, theologians from St. Thomas and from the universities and seminaries of Qom, Iran were able to meet in Rome June 6-9, 2012, to discuss "Religion and Spirituality in Life and Society." This presentation by Sheik Odeh Muhawesh and Dr. Terence Nichols is an account of the progress made at that meeting.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Why do Muslims react to depiction of Prophet Muhammad?
Why can't Prophet Muhammad be depicted?
These questions and many more were answered by Imam Makram El-Amin.
Sponsored by the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center with support from the Saudi Club and the Muslim Student Association click here for streaming audio of lecture...
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Do we want to lead ethical lives? How do we do this? What makes our daily attitudes and behavior ethical? What are the distinguishing features of ethics? The speech covered the moral sensitivities of Islam, in the light of these questions, and iscussed an Islamic view of the distinguishing features of ethics.
"Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Religion and Spirituality in Life and Society"
A Conference between Al-Mustafa University, Qom, Iran, and the University of St. Thomas
June 6-9, 2012
Summary of the Conference
Seven members of the theology faculty of Al-Mustafa University (Qom, Iran) and four members of the Theology Department at the University of St. Thomas, met in conference from June 6-9, 2012, at the Monastery of Sant’Anselmo, in Rome, to discuss aspects of “Religion and Spirituality in Life and Society.” Our two teams had not met before; a series of unusual events had led up to our meeting. In January, Dr. Taher Golestani had sent out an email to many Catholic theologians, informing them that he had started a movement in Qom, which he called M.C.I.D., for Muslim Christian Interfaith Dialogue. Very few answered this email, and some of the responses were hostile. However, because we had started a very similar Center at St. Thomas, I (Terry Nichols) thought it important that our two movements get together. So I answered his email. This led to a long email correspondence, which in the end led up to the meeting in Rome. Arranging the meeting was difficult; it was hard to find a place to stay and to meet, hard to get visas for the Iranians, many delays, and so on. But, through the grace of God and the hospitality of the Benedictines at Sant’ Anselmo, on June 6 we found ourselves all at the Abbey, ready to discuss aspects of Muslim Christian dialogue. Our working language was English, but most of what we said had to be translated into Arabic or Persian.
The participants in the conference were as follows:
Dr. Muhammad Hussein Taheri Akerdi, Imam Khomeni Educational and Research Institute
Ayatollah Mohsen Gharavian, Al-Mustafa University, Qom
Dr. Taher Golestani, Al Mustafa International University, Qom
Dr. Mohamad Kashani, Al Mustafa University, Qom
Dr. S.R. Mahdinejad, Director of Office of Scholarly and Research Cooperation and Conferences, Al Mustafa University, Qom
Dr. Qasim Safari, Head of Religions and Sects Dept., Al-Mustafa University, Qom, Iran
Dr. M.H. Zamani, Director, Department of International Islamic Seminaries, Qom
Dr. Bernard Brady, Chair, UST Theology Department
Dr. Michael Hollerich, Professor, UST Theology Department
Sheik Odeh Muhawesh, President, Scorant Corporation, Associate, Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center
Dr. Terence Nichols, Professor, UST Theology Dept. & Co-Director, Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center
Fr. Ivan Sokolowsky, Cardinal Koenig Institute for Ecumenical Dialogue, Vienna
Ms. Lois Dament, Administrative Assistant, Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, UST
Order of presentation:
Wednesday afternoon, June 6, was spent mostly in introductions, exchanging gifts, and getting to know one another.
Thursday morning (June 7), Ayatollah Gharavian presented a paper entitled: “Peace and Peaceful Co-existence.” He noted that in God there is absolute peace; conflict only enters in in the material world, where animals and humans are subject to conflicting desires. “Therefore, to decrease conflict and war, we have to get closer to God and get further away from Satan…” He goes on to say that “Islam’s main and global invitation is to peace and serenity…the Quran wants all nations and societies to live with each other in complete peace and to act according to humane and ethical values such as mutual respect and observing other peoples’ rights.”
Also on Thursday morning, Terry Nichols presented a paper titled: “Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Challenges and Possibilities.” The paper first considered the Catholic background for Muslim Christian dialogue: Nostra Aetate, and the statement “Dialogue and Proclamation” issued by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The paper concluded with a consideration of the aims of dialogue. Nichols saw five main aims: mutual understanding, common action, sharing of life and religious experiences, but, more profoundly, a deeper conversion of each other to God, and finally, that Muslims and Christians, rather than trying to convert each other to their own faiths, might stand together as common witnesses to the One God whom they both worship.
Thursday afternoon saw the presentation of two papers: one by Dr. Zamani, and another by Dr. Hollerich. Dr. Zamani’s paper focused on prayer: “Al Salat: A Comprehensive invocation and the summit of spirituality.” Prayer, he argued, allows humans to go higher than the beasts and even higher than the angels. He discussed the procedures of prayer, including ablution, which ought to cleanse the body and the soul. He concluded that man’s soul has originated from God and therefore can reach the summit of perfection. Prayer, Al-Salat “prevents man from forgetting God and reminds him of God’s presence, mercy, and power.”
Dr. Hollerich’s paper reviewed the long history of the Catholic Church on the subject of religious freedom, and analyzed why the Church up to Vatican II, found it so difficult to accept religious freedom. This, he hoped, might be a lesson for other faiths as they also strive to fully accept the implications of religious freedom.
Friday morning (June 8) we heard Dr. Safari’s paper on “Spirituality from Imam Sjjad’s View Point.” This paper concerned the mysticism of the Fourth Imam (Imam Sjjad). To the mystic, explained Dr. Safari, “the world is nothing but God, his actions and his attributes.” All things in the world are signs of God. But we get deluded by false images and impressions of the world. The dialogue between religions ought to be the same, because all religions seek God.
Friday morning we were also received a surprise visit from Abbot Notker Wolf, the abbot of Sant’Anselmo, but also the Primatial Abbott of all the Benedictines. He spoke to us for over an hour about the Benedictine way of life (“We pray, work, and read.”), mission, and the structure of the Benedictine confederation. There were many questions from the Muslims. Dr. Zamani, for example, asked Fr. Wolf “How can we cooperate to witness together to God?”
Friday afternoon, we heard brief summaries (because of time shortage) of five papers.
Dr. MahdiNejad spoke on “The Relation between Morality and Politics in Islamic Thought.” He defended a universal moral system, which applied to individual and social behavior, so that what was immoral for individuals (like lying) was also immoral for governments. Islamic society he said is governed by universal moral standards; in particular, he singled out the government of Imam Ali as an example of a moral government of a society.
Dr. Kashani presented a paper on “The Role of Pilgrimage in Religion and Spirituality with an Eye to the Principles of Shiism and Catholicism.” The paper noted the many similarities between the Shi’a and Catholic understanding and practices of pilgrimage. It concluded with the fascinating suggestion of common pilgrimages between Shi’a and Catholics. This was followed by a discussion of such common pilgrimage sites, for example, the House of Mary in Ephesus.
Dr. Golestani spoke of the History of Shi'a-Catholic dialogue in Islamic History. He noted Issa is mentioned in the Qur’an 23 times, and that many Quranic verses deals with how to talk to Christians or People of the Book. Therefore Muslim Christian dialogue begins in the Qur'an and in the life of Muhhamad. Dr. Golestani gave us a number of verses from the Qur’an, and cited a letter from the Prophet Muhammad to the (Nestorian) Christians of Najaran, which declared that the Christians of Najaran were our brothers.
Dr. Taheri Akerdi (Professor at the Imam Khomeni Educational and Research Institute, Qom Seminary) gave a paper on Woman in the Qur’an’s View. Islam, he noted, regards men and women as complements to one another, and it emphasizes the centrality of the family. Finally, the paper compared Lady Mary with Lady Fatima (the Prophet’s daughter) as the two most superior women of the world.
Dr. Bernard Brady presented a summary of his paper: “Freedom and Conscience for Morality: the Catholic Understanding of Conscience and Freedom.” This paper focused on the understanding of conscience as the “sacred space where God speaks to man,” conscience as an inner voice, as a process of discerning a moral decision, and raised the question of correspondences in the Muslim tradition.
Finally, we heard some reflection from Fr. Ivan Sokolowski, a Jesuit from the Cardinal Koenig Institute in Vienna, on interreligious dialogue. He gave the example of John the Baptist, who is recognized as a prophet by Christians, yet who did not become a Christian. As such, John may be a model to Christians of someone who is recognized as a non-Christian prophet within the Christian tradition.
Saturday morning (June 9) our group met with Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, the Head Officer for Islam at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He explained the role of the Council for Interreligious Dialogue, then opened the floor for questions and discussion. At one point Dr. Zamani said that Shi’as believe that at the end of history, Jesus and the Mahdi (the 12th Imam) will return together to establish a reign of justice and peace, and that he, Dr. Zamani, believed that our dialogue together was bringing about that age. At the end of the discussion, Msgr. Akasheh asked us to consider working in theology, on the questions (1) can Christians accept other prophets after Jesus?, and (2) can Muslims accept other prophets after Mohammad? Dr. Golestani said that he thought our conference was a “turning point” in Shi’a Catholic dialogue, and that they were hoping it could continue. This was a very fruitful discussion click here to view streaming video of the meeting. (Note: The audio is not high quality; the better part of the discussion is toward the end. Also, Arabic and English translations of the speakers are part of this video.) As we were leaving the offices of the Pontifical Council, we had a group photo taken, which is posted above.
My own impression of this conference is that we, Muslims and Christians, were able to establish a high degree of trust and mutual respect, and a realization that the goal of our dialogue is not to convert each other to our own faiths, but rather come together to a deeper conversion to God, and to witness together to the One God.
We agreed to meet again in a year. Our preference would be to meet at Qom, otherwise at St. Thomas, or Vienna, or Beirut, or Rome. Our theme will be “Salvation and the Hereafter.”
Reported by Terence L. Nichols
June 21, 2012
April 17, 2012
A colorful illustrated introduction to the major types of "Friends of God" and major themes Islamic hagiography from the medieval to the contemporary. Friends of God have played a role for at least half the world's Muslims roughly analogous to the importance of Saints for about half the world's Christians. As a the "heirs of the prophets" the Friends function as exemplars of devotion and piety, and enjoy immense popularity for hundreds of millions of Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia.
John Renard received his doctorate in Islamic Studies from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 1978. Since then he has been teaching courses in Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, religion and the arts, and comparative theology in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University. Earlier publications include All the King's Falcons: Rumi on Prophets and Revelation (SUNY 1994); Seven doors to Islam and Windows on the House of Islam (California 1996, 1998); and Islam and the Heroic Image: Themes in Literature and the Visual Arts (Mercer, 1999), as well as volumes on Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism in Paulist Press's "101 Questions" series. His most recent books are Friends of God: Islamic Images of Piety, Commitment, and Servanthood (California, 2008) and Tales of God’s Friends: Islamic Hagiography in Translation (California, 2009), and Islam and Christianity: Theological Themes in Comparative Perspective (California, 2011).
February 14, 2012
Christians and Muslims together make up over half of the world's population. Their relationship has included periods of violence, but also of cooperation and coexistence. A prominent Muslim scholar, Professor Hussain, discussed Muslim-Christian dialogue both historically and in our contemporary world.
Amir Hussain, Ph.D., is professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University, a Jesuit university in Los Angeles, where he teaches courses on world religions. A Canadian Muslim who specializes in the study of Islam, his academic degrees are from the University of Toronto, where he received a number of awards, including the university’s highest alumni award for outstanding service. He is the author of Oil and Water: Two Faiths, One God, an introduction to Islam and Muslim-Christian dialogue, and more than two dozen book chapters and scholarly articles about Islam and Muslims. He is also the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the premier scholarly journal for the study of religion. An appointed fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, he has appeared on the History Channel and has given interviews to numerous newspapers and magazines, including Beliefnet.com, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Toronto Star, and The Washington Post.
Co-sponsored by the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning.
click here for streaming video of lecture...
November 21, 2011
Namik Ilksoy discussed the journeys of Saint Paul, the letters of Disciple John and Saint Ignatius and the early Christian Councils.
As a professional tour guide in Turkey leading tours internationally, Namik has been helping Dr. Adil Ozdemir's J-term class, "Islam in Turkey," for the last four years. He brings to Muslim Christian Dialogue twenty-four years of experience as a professional tour guide, who has led at least ten Church groups a year to religious sites. He discussed the beginnings of Christianity on the soils of Anatolia (Turkey), and shared how he came to realize how little we as Muslims and Christians know about each other.
Namik often gets invited by the churches to share his views.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
What do Jewish, Christian, and Muslim pilgrimages teach us about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? When examining pilgrimages in these three traditions, what might Jews, Christians, and Muslims learn from each other about religious commitment and devotion? These are among the questions discussed in this program by the panelists who also considered whether interfaith pilgrimages might be appropriate or should even be encouraged.
Rabbi Norman Cohen is senior rabbi of Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka. A graduate of Holy Cross College before entering rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College where he wrote a rabbinic thesis later published as Jewish Bible Personages in the New Testament (University Press of America, 1989), he is currently writing a book on stereotypes and misconceptions Jews and Christians have about each other and what to do about them
Susan Stabile, J.D., holds the Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and is among the leading scholars in the United States on the intersection of Catholic social thought and the law. A spiritual director who often leads retreats and other programs of spiritual formation, she recently finished writing a book that adapts Tibetan Buddhist analytical meditations for Christians, which will be published by Oxford University Press in 2012
Sheikh Odeh Muhawesh is both a highly successful business leader and an accomplished scholar. He has founded several businesses and he is currently the CEO of Scorant LLC in Minneapolis. A specialist in Islamic theology and modern Middle East history, he teaches courses on these subjects as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas, where he also serves as an associate of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and a member of its board.
Sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center at the University of St. Thomas
Click here to view streaming video of lecture...
In place of Bishop Piché, presentation by Fr. Erich Rutten
October 25, 2011
Due to illness, Bishop Piché, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, was unable to be present as scheduled. In his place, Fr. Erich Rutten, chaplain and director of campus ministry at the University of St. Thomas, shared his own reflections on the significance of interreligious dialogue for Catholics and the anniversary of the World Day of Prayer in Assisi, Italy. Terry Nichols, UST professor of theology and co-director of UST’s Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, and Hans Gustafson, assistant director of the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, also shared reflections on the significance of interfaith dialogue.
Sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies, Campus Ministry, Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, and the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center
Click here for streaming video of lecture...
October 11, 2011
Professor Qalinle spoke on the nature of Sharia law in Islam, and how it relates to American democracy.
Abdulwahid Qalinle has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School since 2004. He is an expert in the areas of comparative constitutional law, Islamic law, International law and the rule of law.
Qalinle received advanced degrees in law from the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan and from the University of Minnesota Law School. Most recently he was appointed director of the Islamic Law and Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the Law School, which opened on February 4, 2011.
Sponsored by the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center
April 13, 2011
As a part of the Interfaith art pARTners festival, Dr. Adil Ozdemir and Dr. Terry Nichols, Co-directors of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, discussed the role of art in Islam and Christianity. Both Islam and Christianity use various forms of art to communicate the glory and presence of God. But the understanding of art, and the way it is used, differs somewhat in each tradition. This discussion explored both the similarities and the differences in the use of art in Islam and Christianity.
Interfaith art pARTners is a collaborative festival of Twin Cities institutions who come together to promote the arts as a catalyst for conversation within the context of faith and spirituality. The goal of this collaboration is to advance an understanding of the diverse communities, cultures, faith traditions, and spiritual beliefs in the broader community.
A variety of museums, places of worship, historical societies, performing art organizations, and colleges each participated through individual exhibitions and programming as they expressed their unique stories through various art forms. The festival ran throughout late winter and spring of 2011.
April 8, 2011
Congressman Ellison and General Nash discussed the role of religion in U.S. Foreign Policy. From designing foreign policy to implementing it on the ground, religion is a critical factor for consideration. The U.S. has struggled with how to address the role of religion in the implementation of its foreign policy. From the Dali Lama to Ayatollah Sistani to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt the U.S. must engage powerful religious leaders.
April 6, 2011
There has been a great deal of concern about Islamophobia in America. The speaker and respondent addressed this issue.
Featured speaker, Dr. Muqtedar Khan, is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations, Political Philosophy, and Islamic Political Thought, from Georgetown University in May 2000.
Dr. Kahn is the author of American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom (Amana, 2002), Jihad for Jerusalem: Identity and Strategy in International Relations (Praeger, 2004), Islamic Democratic Discourse (Lexington Books, 2006) and Debating Moderate Islam: The Geopolitics of Islam and the West (University of Utah Press, 2007).
Dr. Khan frequently comments on BBC, CNN International, FOX and VOA TV, Bridges TV, NPR and other radio and TV networks. His political commentaries appear regularly in newspapers in over 20 countries. He has lectured in North America, East Asia, Middle East and Europe . Dr. Khan is from Hyderabad in India. He is married to Reshma and has a son Rumi, and a daughter Ruhi.
Free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center at email@example.com or 651-962-5650.
March 8, 2011
Description: Our panel discussed the Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives on the interrelation between faith and work. Drawing upon their respective religious traditions, the panelists discussed what it means to be faithful leaders in business today.
• Ted Malloch is Chairman and CEO of the Roosevelt Group, a leading strategy thought leadership company. His most recent book is Doing Virtuous Business, which is also the subject of a PBS documentary to be aired in spring 2011.
• Odeh Muhawesh is a Minneapolis based entrepreneur who is presently CEO of Scroant Inc. (Minneapolis). He also teaches courses in the history of the Middle East and in Islamic theology at the University of St. Thomas.
• Brian Shapiro is an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas in the accounting department at the Opus College of Business. He is also an active member of Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka, MN.
• Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center
• John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought, the Center for Catholic Studies
• Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning
• SAIP Institute at the Opus College of Business
October 7, 2010
is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After many years of work in pastoral care, hospice and spiritual direction, Rabbi Eilberg now directs the Interfaith Conversations Project at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning. Deeply engaged in peace and reconciliation efforts in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she now serves as chair of J Street Minnesota. She is at work on a book on Judaism and Peacebuilding.
is the Director of Unity and Relationships, Minnesota Council of Churches, where she directs Interfaith and Ecumenical programming. With the Muslim American Society she organizes Taking Heart, a program designed to bring Muslim and Christian neighbors together. She was a 2009 recipient of a Building Bridges award from the Islamic Resource Group in Minnesota. Her newest program is called Taking Root, a program to create interfaith understanding as well as welcome refugees to Minnesota who arrive without any connection to the community. Gail earned a Masters Degree in Theology from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She also has been an award winning television producer, and president of a corporate communications company.
received her PhD in ecclesiology from the University of Toronto, and is now teaching courses in the University of St. Thomas theology department. She has done research and has spoken widely on the role of women in the Christian church. For many years she represented the U.S. Catholic Bishops at the national Faith and Order Conference (a branch of the National Council of Churches of Christ).
is a consulting physician who has spoken widely on Islam and the role of women in Islam. She studied medicine at Oxford University and the University of Minnesota medical school (psychiatry, psychopharmacology), and also has a Ph.D. in Comparative Religious Studies from the University of Canterbury (Kent, U.K.). She has been extremely active in interfaith dialogue in the Twin Cities area with both Jewish and Christian organizations for decades. She is also a third level Mureedah (female seeker) in the Naqshabandi Sufi order.
is an American of Yemeni descent. Ms. Al-Mottahar is a prolific speaker and expert on matters of faith and cultural matters. She is an active member of the Minnesota faith communities and a strong advocate of inter-religious dialogue. Ms. Almottahar is completing her post graduate studies majoring in education. She is married with three lovely sons.
The event was introduced and moderated by Dr. Marisa Kelly, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
This event was co-sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and the Luann Dummer Center for Women at the University of St. Thomas, and the Minnesota Council of Churches. click here for a streaming video of the panel discussion...
April 15, 2010
A Common Word click here is a Muslim declaration, signed by hundreds of Muslim scholars, clerics, and intellectuals worldwide, which emphasizes the commonality of love in Islam and Christianity. This declaration has received very positive responses from many Christian organizations.
Dr. Jamal Badawi is Professor Emeritus at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he served as Professor of both Management and Religious Studies. Dr. Badawi is the author of several works on Islam, including books, chapters in books and articles. Some of his works are available also on the internet including Gender Equity in Islam available on http://www.soundvision.com/ and a 352-segment television series on Islam, now available [in audio format] under "Reading Islam” then click on “Islam in 176 hours" at http://www.islamonline.net/ and other sites. In addition to his participation in lectures, seminars and interfaith dialogues in North America, Dr. Badawi has been frequently invited as guest speaker on Islam in nearly 38 other countries. He is a member of the Islamic Juridical [Fiqh] Council of North America, The European Council of Fatwa and Research and the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He has been serving as a volunteer Imam of the local Muslim community in Halifax since 1970.
Dr. Badawi is father of 5 children and grandfather of 17 [so far!]
Zafar Siddiqui is co-founder and President of the Islamic Resource Group, and serves as chairman of the board of Al-Amal school in Fridley. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Muslim Christian Dialogue Center at the University of St. Thomas. He blogs on interfaith topics in the Star Tribune's "Your Voices" section. He has a Masters degree in Computer Science and is a software engineer by profession. He is married, with four children, and resides in Blaine, MN.
Dr. Nichols is a professor in the theology department at St. Thomas, and is co-director of the Muslim Christian Dialogue Center. His book, Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction, has just been published by Brazos Press.
Gail Anderson is the Director of Unity and Relationships for the Minnesota Council of Churches. With the Muslim American Society, she organizes Taking Heart, a program designed to bring Muslim and Christian neighbors together. She also organizes a new program, Taking Root, which builds interfaith sponsorship teams to help resettle refugees who are moving to Minnesota. She hosts the Twin Cities Interfaith Network, and heads the Minnesota Interreligious Initiative, designed to strengthen the state’s interfaith infrastructure.
This event is co-sponsored by the Islamic Resource Group of Minnesota and by the Minnesota Council of Churches.
November 5, 2009Dr. Yahya Michot, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary, teaches courses in Islamic theology and philosophy, Muslim societies and Arabic language. Professor Michot is editor of The Muslim World.
From 1982 – 1997 Dr. Michot (Ph.D., Catholic University of Louvain) was director of the Centre for Arabic Philosophy at the University of Louvain, Belgium; from October 1998 – September 2009 Professor Michot was a KFAS fellow in Islamic Studies at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies and Islamic Centre Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology, Oxford University.
Dr. Terence Nichols, Professor in the theology department of St. Thomas, and Co-Director of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center. He is the author of two books as well as a number of articles and book chapters in the area of systematic theology. He has been involved in Muslim-Christian dialogue for fourteen years.
Dr. Adil Ozdemir, Assistant Professor of theology, and Co-Director of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center. Dr. Ozdemir has taught courses on Islam at St. Thomas for five years, and is the author of Visible Islam in Turkey. Before coming to St. Thomas, he taught for twenty-five years at Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey.
Sheikh Odeh Muhawesh, an Associate of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, recently retired as President of Stratika, a Minnesota company. He currently teaches courses in the history of the Middle East and Islamic theology at the University of St. Thomas.
Dr. Pamela Nice, teaches courses on Arab writers and films at St. Thomas, and has made several documentary films concerning cross-cultural understanding between Americans and Arabs.
Mr. Owais Bayunus, President of the Islamic Center of Minnesota, recently retired from the engineering and management division of Marathon Oil Co. He has been involved in Muslim-Christian dialogue for over eighteen years.
November 5, 2008
Dalia Mogahed is a Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, a non-partisan research center dedicated to providing data-driven analysis on the views of Muslim populations around the world. With John L. Esposito, Ph.D., she is coauthor of the book Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think. Her analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy magazine, the Harvard Review, the Middle East Policy journal, and many other academic and popular journals. Mogahed is a member of Women in International Security, serves on the leadership group of the Project on U.S. Engagement with the Global Muslim Community, and is a member of the Crisis in the Middle East Task Force of the Brookings Institution.
Click here to view streaming video of lecture
October 23, 2008
April 23, 2008
Professor Takim’s book titled, The Heirs of the Prophet: Charisma and Religious Authority in Shi‘ite Islam was recently published by SUNY press. He is currently working on his second book, The Shi‘i Experience in America. He is also translating volume four of ‘Allama Tabatabai’s voluminous exegesis of the Qur’an. Professor Takim has taught at American and Canadian universities and is actively engaged in dialogue with different faith communities. He has lectured at many institutions in different parts of the world.
Click here to view streaming video of lecture
February 26, 2008Anouar Majid is professor and founding chair of the Department of English at the University of New England in Maine. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Unveiling Traditions: Postcolonial Islam in a Polycentric World (Duke University Press, 2000), Freedom and Orthodoxy: Islam and Difference in the Post-Andalusian Age (Stanford University Press, 2004), and A Call for Heresy: Why Dissent is Vital to Islam and America (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). He also edits Tingis, a Moroccan-American magazine he co-founded in 2003. Majid has lectured and given keynote addresses at major universities. His work has been profiled on PBS and Al Jazeera.
February 20, 2008
November 13, 2007Dr. Abu-Rabia is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, with a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Sociology. He visited from the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, Israel. He is a world authority on Arab medicine, education, and religions practices. When he was chair of the Middle East Studies Department (2004-2006), he facilitated Jewish-Arab student visits to Jewish and Bedouin towns, and worked in other ways to foster mutual understanding and coexistence between Jews and Arabs.
Monday, October 15, 2007Dr. Omid Safi is an associate professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, and is the Chair for the Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion. He is the author of The Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam (2006), and the editor of Voices of Diversity and Change (2006), and Progressive Muslims (2003).