The Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St Mary's University, Twickenham and the Centre for Islamic Finance at the University of Bolton have launched the 'Forum for Islam-Christian Dialogue'.
The Forum will hold regular events designed to promote a greater understanding of the tenets of the two faiths and their impact on important areas such as public policy and business ethics.
It will also focus on reaching out to academics and opinion formers with the intention that, in the long term, promoting greater understanding at this level in society will permeate into public policy and into communities more generally.
The two research centres, working separately, have undertaken successful work in these spheres before. The Benedict XVI Centre promotes public understanding of Christian social teaching and researches the role of religion in society. The Centre for Islamic Finance runs a regular seminar series with prominent Christian speakers. Both have also played an important role in improving inter-faith understanding with regular events on religion and conflict, religious persecution and religion and public policy.
The University of Bolton and St Mary's University, Twickenham will now come together, from their different traditions, to promote a genuine inter-faith dialogue in order to facilitate greater understanding between communities amongst a much wider group.
Commenting on this initiative Professor George E Holmes DL, Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Bolton, said,
"I am in full support of this initiative and I would like here to recall John Paul II in his address to representatives of the Muslims of Belgium, May 19, 1985:
"It is a good thing to come to understand each other by learning to accept differences, by overcoming prejudices in mutual respect, and by working together for reconciliation and service to the lowliest.”
"I believe the Centre for Islamic Finance is well placed to promote dialogue and understanding between the two faiths."
Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor of St Mary's University, Twickenham added,
"Tension between faiths can often arise from a lack of understanding and a lack of inter-personal connections between people of different religions. This new Forum will draw together Christians and Muslims to engage in areas of mutual interest.
"I am delighted St Mary’s is offering its knowledge and support to such an important, and potentially transformative, initiative."
For further information about the "Islam-Christian Dialogue" initiative please write to:
Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq at: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Professor Philip Booth at: email@example.com