Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Signs of Hope

By See, Guat Kwee | European Judaism, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Signs of Hope


See, Guat Kwee, European Judaism


Introduction

Over the last fifty years, Muslims and Christians have never talked so much with each other, according to Jean Claude Basset. (1) However, he writes that it is mainly a small elite group of scholars who are doing the talking. (2) Ismail Faruqi described Muslim-Christian dialogue as a 'failure, a struggling desperately to survive', and in vain, with no visible results. (3) He argued that Muslim-Christian dialogue has mostly been led by Christians; Muslims as 'invited guests' have thus not been free to speak being obligated to their 'hosts'. Furthermore, participant Muslims are often selected by Church authorities, rather than elected or appointed by their communities. (4) Although a good number of dialogues have been organized at the international level with the support of religious organizations, they claim little impact beyond more local initiatives, have not prevented mistrust and conflicts from occurring, and have offered little help in healing wounds and restoring peace. (5)

In dialogue, each partner needs to listen to the other as openly and sympathetically as possible in an attempt to precisely understand the position of the other, and as much as possible from within. Such an attitude might include the possibility that 'at any point we might find the partner's position so persuasive that ... we would have to change', writes Leonard Swidler. (6) However, according to Marston Speight, 'no dialogue is ever perfect; no life-situation or interreligious meeting is ever completely ideal'. (7) In most cases, he says that 'we are on the way to dialogue, experiencing more or less of its authenticity', but we need to be 'ready for it when circumstances concur to make it a reality'. (8) The last thirty years has been described as the 'pre-dialogical' period of Muslim-Christian dialogue by Basset. (9) Though viewed with suspicion by both Christians and Muslims, Seyyed Hossein Nasr believes that Muslim-Christian dialogue has nevertheless turned from a 'rivulet into a roaring river' and gained momentum despite all the resistance, obstacles and problems. (10)

We will examine some of the key issues and obstacles of Muslim-Christian dialogue, and consider insights from practitioners of the process. Dialogue, according to Basset, is a journey of transformation, of 'radical change' in the way we look at ourselves, our religious heritage and at other believers. (11) 'More than word and official gatherings', Basset believes that it fails sooner or later if it does not lead to some sort of action. (12) 'Once that process starts and continuity is maintained (provided that the dialogue is nurtured, and not betrayed or hijacked by any other partners) then what is needed is patience and trust, and through the course of time, others might agree, join in or find some value for themselves or their community', says Rabbi Jonathan Magonet. (13)

Through the eyes of three practitioners of dialogue, we see the need to build trust and friendship as foundational in the dialogue process. Jane Smith, reflecting on a Christian-Muslim-Jewish dialogue group in Denver which met for nearly seven years, says that sustained dialogue over a period of time provided opportunities for its members 'to know each other in deep and personal ways, to care, and be able to call the other, friend'. (14) Mohammed Abu-Nimer's work on dialogue, peace and conflict resolution lays the groundwork for possibilities of peace in conflict areas when perceptions shift and there is 'mutual acknowledgement' of each side's collective wrong against the other. (15) And Ataullah Siddiqui shares in an interview, his experiences of how Muslim-Christian dialogue progressed, moving from initial sharing and understanding of each other's religion, to collective works. (16)

The Dialogue Encounter: Issues and Concerns

Any genuine encounter and dialogue is a meeting of the deepest levels of our respective faiths, writes Darroll Bryant.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Signs of Hope
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.