A Journey into Understanding Islam

For much of the last dozen years, I have been running courses, writing and
talking to people to help them to understand Islam and Christian-Muslim
relations. For six years in Birmingham (1999-2005), when I was the Adviser
on Inter-Faith Relations to the Bishop of Birmingham, my focus widened to
include practical and structural relations between all the major faiths in that
great cosmopolitan city. For the last five years (2006-2010), I worked in
London with a narrower focus – precisely to develop adult popular education in
understanding Islam for Christians and others, understanding Christianity for
Muslims, Christian-Muslim relations in history and today, and exploring the
multi-faceted world of Muslims and the West. This work was generously
funded by a syndicate of four charitable bodies, both Muslim and Christian, of
which the St Ethelburga Centre for Reconciliation and Peace was one, and so I
was known as the St Ethelburga Fellow in Christian-Muslim Relations. But the
story does not begin there!

Click here to read the full article “Journey into Understanding

Hard Questions

The Church of Ireland held a national in-service training day in Dublin in 2006
at which Chris Hewer spoke and later contributed a paper (see Introduction to
Islam on this website). There were several “Hard Questions” left hanging on
this day, which were answered in collaboration with Dr Jabal M Buaben, the
Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in
Birmingham. They were published in the Church of Ireland Journal, June
2006.

Questions such as:

How can Muslims balance believing in God as “The Merciful, The
Compassionate” with assenting to the execution of a man or woman for
adultery?

Can you explain the use of the fatwa: for instance in the case of Salman
Rushdie and The Satanic Verses or the man recently condemned to death
for converting to Christianity?

We hear of many conflicting reports about the treatment of Muslim
women in different countries; what is from Islam and what is cultural?

Are suicide bombers correct in their understanding that Paradise awaits
them as martyrs in the cause of Islam?

What really constitutes jihad in Islamic teaching? Is all the talk of “Holy
War” today justifiable according to the Qur’an and are there other ways
of reading the text?

Click here to read the full article “Hard Questions”