Muslims, Christians, and the Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue

By Jane Idleman Smith | Go to book overview

Introduction

Phones started ringing off the hook. Email messages piled up. Engagement calendars became immediately filled as those who had some knowledge of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations tried to respond to the question on everyone's lips after September 11, 2001: Why did they do it? Tragedy often begets more tragedy, and the direct and indirect results of 9/11 have brought pain and loss, disillusionment and severe financial repercussions to many Americans as well as members of other societies. Adding to Western fears have been subsequent bombings in Madrid, Bali, London and elsewhere—terrorist acts acknowledged to have been perpetrated by Muslims—as well as the repercussions of U.S. military action in the Middle East. What is going on, Americans ask, and why is it that the religion of Islam seems to allow for such grisly deeds to be carried out on seemingly innocent victims?

Hundreds of books, thousands of journal articles, and an untold number of opinions expressed in cyberspace have been dedicated to trying to analyze terrorist movements linked in some way to the religion of Islam. American Muslims, horrified by atrocities perpetrated in the name of their precious faith, have agonized over the situation. They have spent a great deal of time denouncing violence and proclaiming Islam to be a religion of peace, and in more quiet ways, have begun examining the roots of their faith to find out what, if anything, justifies aggression and retribution in the Qur'an and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad. For the most part, American

-ix-

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Muslims, Christians, and the Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1- Encountering Each Other 3
  • 2- The Legacy of Engagement 23
  • 3- Islam - A Truly American Religion? 41
  • 4- Models of Christian-Muslim Dialogue in America 63
  • 5- When Dialogue Goes Wrong 83
  • 6- The Pluralistic Imperative - Christian Perspectives 101
  • 7- The Pluralist Imperative - Muslim Perspectives 121
  • 8- New Directions in Dialogue 141
  • Notes 161
  • Bibliography 173
  • Index 179
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