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Interfaith Relations Explored During Duquesne University Founders Week

Interreligious Traditions of Jews, Muslims and Christians to be Discussed


Duquesne University will welcome one of the nation’s pre-eminent scholars on Catholic-Muslim relations and a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue as guest speakers exploring interfaith dialogue during Founders Week activities, Jan. 31 through Feb. 4.At the beginning of every February, the Duquesne community commemorates and reflects on its founding and values. This year’s activities, spanning Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, will include discussions of interest to the greater community:

  • An exploration of values shared in Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions by eminent scholar Dr. Scott C. Alexander, director of Catholic Muslim Studies and department chair of Intercultural Studies and Ministries at Catholic Theological Union. His presentation titled To Treat the Stranger as Neighbor: An Interreligious Imperative for Our Time, will be given on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. in the University’s Power Center Ballroom. A reception will follow the event, which is free and open to the public.
  • A look at Spiritan-Muslim relations and the importance of interreligious dialogue by Tanzanian Bishop Augustine Ndeliakyama Shao, C.S.Sp.  Shao, who serves as a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He will address the work of the Spiritans in his diocese of Zanzibar and Pemba, where the congregation has had a presence for 150 years. Bishop Shao believes creating a harmonious relationship between the country’s 11,000 Christians and 1 million Muslims is a crucial factor in addressing issues of social justice, education and health care that affect all Tanzanians.

“While we struggle to build our schools and dispensaries and to carry out related social services, we are called to live our faith openly, express our hope confidently, and show forth our love in the care we have for our neighbor, our society, and our environment,” Shao stated. “In that witnessing, sharing and dialogue we can build together with our Muslim brothers and sisters a new Zanzibar, a new Tanzania, a new Africa, a new world.”

Shao’s talk will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 1, in Duquesne’s Power Center Ballroom, followed by a reception and pictorial exhibit of Spiritans in Islamic countries. Shao also will receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Pastoral Leadership from Duquesne University. His graduate studies at Duquesne were interrupted twice by a call to religious service, first, in 1990, as Provincial Superior of the East African Province and then as Bishop of Zanzibar and Pemba in 1997.

Discussing these religions is important to promoting understanding, in Pittsburgh and around the world, said the Rev. James McCloskey, C.S.Sp., vice president for mission and identity at Duquesne, which annually sponsors Founders Day.

“A cornerstone of the Spiritan congregation worldwide is education, which includes education about faith,” said McCloskey. “Especially with religious tensions worldwide, the willingness to have a dialogue focusing on shared traditions and values is a crucial step toward achieving understanding.”

Events are free but an RSVP is required. To RSVP, call 412.396.5131 or email universityevents@duq.edu.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.