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Muslim-Christian Tensions Addressed at Duquesne Dialogue

Growing tensions between Muslims and Christians can only be remedied by more useful dialogue, which is the premise of an upcoming symposium at Duquesne University.

“Closing our minds doesn’t solve the problems,” said Dr. Marinus C. Iwuchukwu, assistant professor of theology who was instrumental in organizing the forum. “We cannot live in isolated groups. We have to understand each other or we will annihilate each other.”

The State of Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Africa will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22. Organized by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty from theology, philosophy, sociology and nursing, the event supports the University’s strategic goal to emphasize African issues.

The symposium will focus on what African interlocutors can learn from ongoing Muslim-Christian Dialogue in the United States. Participants will look at the challenges for Muslim-Christian relationships in the U.S., in West Africa and in Nigeria, and debate the health care, economic, political and social implications.

“The goal of dialogue is to enrich our knowledge of one another, and that will make each of us richer as human beings,” Iwuchukwu said.

Keynote speaker is Dr. Zeki Saritoprak, the Nursi Chair of Islamic Studies at John Carroll University. Christopher Stedman of the Journal of Inter-religious Dialogue also will speak.

A panel discussion will be led by Dr. Cyril Orji, assistant professor at the University of Dayton’s College of Arts and Sciences, and will feature three Duquesne faculty members:  Dr. Sarah Louise MacMillen, assistant professor of sociology, Dr. Khlood Salman, assistant professor of nursing, and Iwuchukwu.

“Many of us are religious by accident, a faith imposed on us by birth. But we can make a choice and choose to understand religions other than our own,” said Iwuchukwu.

The symposium will also provide a forum for the local Muslim community, through the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, to share its efforts for better collaboration among religious groups in Pittsburgh.

Organizers hope to develop support to hold a conference with Muslim-Christian dialogue scholars in Africa.

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.