Crucible: The Christian journal of social ethics devoted its July-September 2008
number to “Islam in Britain: challenge and opportunity”. The following article was
written by Chris Hewer. It explores some of the key social values that Islam might
have to contribute to the future of British society without doing the work of Muslim
scholars in addressing their tradition and working out the application in detail.
The 2001 Census gave the Muslim population of Britain as approximately 1.6m
people. There are reasons to think that this might have been rather a low figure and, with the passage of nearly seven years, we can reasonably estimate the current total to be in the order of 2 million. The key statistic that the last census produced was the age profile of Muslims in Britain…
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.
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.