Training for dialogue with Islam

The Catholic Bishops of Germany have a national information, resource and training centre for dialogue with Islam and Muslims, called CIBEDO, in Frankfurt.  I was invited to lead a seminar there in October 2014 to explore “The training of Christian workers for dialogue with Islam.”  The paper was presented in German and will be published by CIBEDO in their quarterly.  The English original can be downloaded by clicking on the link.

Understanding Islam: The Big Picture

The first series of Understanding Islam TV programmes, called The Big Picture, is available on You Tube by following the links on the “UI course” button on this website, then the “Big Picture” page.  All twelve articles for this series have been compiled together and are available by clicking on the “Written Resources” button and then the “Books” page.  To view this compilation, you can also click on the link below:

Big Picture

Introduction to UI Course

Please click to download the PDF Introduction to the UI course

The Big Picture is the first series of twelve episodes of the course. The video for each episode and a set of notes in pdf format can be found by clicking here.

Standing before God is the Second series of twelve episodes of the course. The video for each episode and a set of notes in pdf format can be found by clicking here.

Building a Just Society is the Third series of twelve episodes. The video for each episode and a set of notes in pdf format can be found by clicking here.

Bearers of the Final Message is the fourth and final series of twelve episodes of the Understanding Islam course. The video for each episode and a set of notes in pdf format can be found by clicking here.

Troll in Selly Oak: teaching by example

This article was written by Chris Hewer for a presentation volume dedicated to Prof. Dr Christian Troll SJ to mark his seventieth birthday (Im Dienst der Versöhnung: Für einen authentischen Dialog zwischen Christen und Muslimen, (ed.) Peter Hünseler, Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 2008). Prof. Troll has worked in the field of the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations since 1961. He studied in Germany, the Lebanon and Britain and subsequently taught in India, Britain, Italy, Turkey and his native Germany, where he is currently Honorary Professor at the Jesuit Theological Faculty in Frankfurt am Main. The article shows the methodology and structure of a course in the historical development of Islamic religious thought as taught by a Christian with a Muslim colleague to a group of Christian and Muslim students in a British university context. Four colleagues of ours at Selly Oak contribute their own reflections: the late Prof. Khalid Alavi from Pakistan, the Revd Gisela Egler from the Church of Hessen Nassau, Germany, the Revd Dr Herman Roborgh SJ from Sydney, Australia and Dr Ataullah Siddiqui from the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, Leicester


Christian Troll was present in the Selly Oak Colleges in May 1975 when the original
consultation with leading Christians and Muslims took place that formulated the vision and launched the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. By this time, he had completed his theological studies in Germany, his Arabic studies in Lebanon, his Persian and Urdu studies in London, and was completing his doctoral work on Sayyid Ahmad Khan. In 1976 he left for Delhi, where he taught at the Vidyajyoti Institute until his return to Selly Oak in 1988. During his five years at the Centre, in addition to supervising research, editing the Centre journal Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations that he began, consultations and occasional lectures, his principal teaching responsibility was the MA core course on the Historical Development of Islamic Religious Thought. When the MA was first developed in conjunction with the University of Birmingham, whose degree it was, the schema was to mirror a Master’s degree in Christian theology, with one paper on scriptural material, one on systematic theology, an optional paper and a dissertation. The Troll course, which was first taught by the Centre’s founder David Kerr, was the Islamic equivalent of a paper on systematic theology…

Click here to read the full article “Troll in Selly Oak”

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”