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Engaging Islam from a Christian Perspective

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Bonnie Evans-Hills and Michael Rusk

Is it possible to bridge two faiths, to cross through myriad cultures, and to seek to understand some of today’s great global crises from the viewpoint of the other? With an estimated 5 million Muslims in the United States, Islam is a faith that invites attention. Beginning with the perceived dissonance of east and west, of Christianity and Islam, and working through the complexity of antagonistic worldviews that have been perpetuated over the centuries, Engaging Islam from a Christian Perspective seeks to rediscover the deep interconnectedness between these two world faiths. The political upheavals experienced across North Africa and the Middle East and the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Boko Haram in north east Nigeria indicate the urgency and importance of establishing constructive dialogue. This book sets local dialogue in the wider context of the significant international conversations that have been taking place between the two faiths. The emergence of Scriptural Reasoning as a major tool of inter-religious dialogue is explained and illustrated. However, this perspective is balanced by a consideration of how dialogue can proceed while acknowledging the diatribe, hostility, and violence that in some parts of the world terrorize adherents of both faiths. Re-establishing a dialogue of trust, three areas are explored that reveal the potential radical outcomes of meaningful dialogue. An important corrective is given as to how women perceive themselves as Muslims; the question of whether one can be actively gay and Muslim is raised; and the complex issues surrounding inter-faith worship are sensitively explored. Engaging Islam from a Christian Perspective offers the intriguing possibility that local conversation can bring about profound transformation to both faiths.
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Chapter 9. Anglicans and the Shia Tradition

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· 9 ·

ANGLICANS AND THE SHIA TRADITION

Michael Rusk

There are some moments in life which make their mark on your memory. They seem insignificant flashes at the time, but come back to haunt with clarity of insight when great events overtake. Such a moment came for me in the basement of London’s Regent’s Park Mosque during a commemoration ceremony in 1987 for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein held by predominantly Iraqi Shia Muslims. Men and women were separated into separate halls, but there was no feeling of inequality in this separation. There was a need on the part of the women to be able to allow their hearts to rip open. Many of them had lost loved ones to the cruel tortures of Saddam Hussein’s prisons. And I suspect some of them had been victims of torture themselves. They needed to weep; they needed to beat their breasts, to allow their bodies to double over as their guts were ripped out by the pain of it all.

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