Interfaith Dialogue A Guide for Muslims, 2nd ed. By Muhammad Shafiq and Mohammed Abu-Nimer (Herndon, VA: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2011. pbk. 168 pages.)

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David Johnston

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Abstract

Interfaith Dialogue: A Guide for Muslims is certainly that – a practical
guide to help local Muslim leaders navigate the tricky waters of interfaith
dialogue. More than that, however, it is a document intended to persuade
Muslims, who on the whole are reticent and even staunchly opposed in
many cases, to engage in interfaith dialogue in the first place.
This is evident in the preface of the second edition, which begins with
a 2010 incident at the Islamic Center of Rochester, New York. A scholar
visiting from the Middle East was speaking on the necessity for Muslims
to talk to people of other faiths. When he had finished, one person in the
audience strongly objected, even warning the speaker that he was in danger
of hellfire for suggesting such things. Despite the watershed initiative by
Saudi Arabia King Addullah in calling together the 2008 Madrid Interfaith
Conference, “many Muslims who attend the mosque for daily worship are
opposed or have negative opinions of interfaith dialogue” (xi). So what
needs to happen first is an “intra-Muslim dialogue . . . that will educate
worshippers on the meaning, scope, and the contemporary use of modern
interfaith dialogue from Islamic perspectives” (xi‒xii). Apparently, authors
Muhammad Shafiq and Mohammed Abu-Nimer encountered more resistance
to the idea than they first thought would happen ...

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