We have Justice in Common

In October 2007, an “Open Letter” was sent from Muslim religious leaders to Christian leaders inviting them to come to “A Common Word” between them about the primacy of loving God and loving one’s neighbour. The document was originally signed by 138 Muslim leaders from various countries but South and South-East Asia and Africa in general were under-represented, especially when it is considered that these are the areas of the world in which Muslims and Christians live in large number and engage in daily contact. In the light of this, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Germany in October 2009 convened a colloquium of Christian and Muslim scholars and activists from these two regions to discuss the Open Letter and its impact on their local communities. The resulting report, edited by Christian Troll, Helmut Reifeld and Chris Hewer, called We have Justice in Common, was published in 2010. The name was chosen to reflect the overwhelming sense of the colloquium that the central ethical principle of justice needed to be added to any discussion of Christian-Muslim relations. The full text of the report is available to download here.
We have Justice in Common

An enduring vision: the Study Centre at Selly Oak

This article was written by Chris Hewer as a contribution to the two-volume
posthumous book to mark the contribution of Prof. David Kerr, the Founder-Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Selly Oak, Birmingham (World Christianity in Muslim Encounter: Essays in memory of David A Kerr, Vol II, (ed.) Stephen Goodwin, London: Continuum, 2009 ). David died in his early sixties, just at the moment when he had settled to polish and publish the
contributions that he had made to the field orally during four decades. The article
seeks the rationale and spirit behind the founding of the Centre – as much needed
today as when it was founded.

For those of us involved in the world of Christian-Muslim relations, the name of David Kerr will for ever evoke the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations that he founded at the Selly Oak Colleges in 1976. As the reality of the Centre passes into memory, it is important in the context of the current Festschrift to record something of that vision from early documentation and the memories of those involved over the first decade…

Click here to read the full article “Study Centre at Selly Oak”

Theological Issues in Christian-Muslim Dialogue

In 2007 Chris Hewer was invited to give a paper to the Catholic Theological
Association at its annual meeting in Leuven, Belgium, on theological issues in
Christian-Muslim dialogue, which was subsequently published in New
Blackfriars, vol. 89, no. 1021, May 2008.

Click here to read the article “Theological Issues”

A brief introduction to Islam

The Church of Ireland held a national in-service training day in Dublin in 2006
at which Chris Hewer spoke and later contributed the following paper to the
Church of Ireland Journal, June 2006. It serves as a useful first introduction to

Muslims never understand Islam as a new religion that began with the
revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century CE.
Rather, to understand Islam, we need to go back to the starting point of all
theology, that is the doctrine of God. According to Islamic understanding, God
is one, indivisible, eternal, transcendent, omniscient, and omnipotent (Q. 6:59,
34:22). God is like no other being and does not share divinity with any created
being or thing (Q. 112). Indeed the sin of shirk, that is to associate partners
with God, in the one sin that God will never forgive (Q. 4:48)….

Click here to read the article “Introduction to Islam”

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

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?

Click here to read the full article “Hard Questions”

Communicating an understanding of Islam

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.

Click here to read “Communicating an Understanding of Islam”