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
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
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?
Let me set you a challenge: how would you put together ten sessions to help
secular people with no concept of what religion entails to understand
Christianity? Where would you start? Let’s add to the question: what if the
people followed their own religion and so had some concept of what it is to “be
religious”? Would that make a difference? Finally, what if the people were
Jews or Muslims and so had a direct relationship to Christianity (and maybe
some misperceptions too!). What difference would that make? These questions
help to explore the kind of communication issue with which I have been
struggling for the last twenty years: how to help Christians understand Islam.
Christians and Muslims towards the future… This article explores the multi-faith nature of contemporaryBritain, the prophetic role of religions in a liberal democracy and the contribution that Christianity and Islam could make to discussions about the values that should underpin Britain in the 21st century…London stands at the threshold of one of the most exciting periods in its long and varied history. Due to the pattern of migration to this country and the conversion to Islam of Europeans, estimated at 25-40,000 in the UK, London must now be regarded as the third most diverse city in the world in terms of its Muslim population, after only Makka and Madina.