Salaam alei kum!
Pope Benedict XVI received a special welcome from Muslim leaders as he arrived at the international airport of Yaoundé-Nsimalen on March 18, 2009. The great imam of Yaoundé, Sheik Ibrahim Moussa, affirmed: "In the Koran, the prophet Mohammed recommends to welcome the foreigners, because very often they come with peace. Therefore, for us, the coming of the Pope is a blessing." At the beginning of his three-day stay in Cameroon, the Pope received repeated welcomes from the leaders of the Muslim community, which forms the second largest religion after Christianity in this country of more than 18 million people. Motivated by the Pope's arrival, Sheik Moussa appealed to faithful Muslims to "respect the religion of others and to unite to welcome this great man." So the Muslims were happy to receive the Pope and prayed for him. An example of dialogue of life! We present in this issue of Salaam the address of Pope Benedict XVI to the Cameroon Muslim leaders.
Islamic Studies Association organizes National Convention once in two years in different parts of India to create inter-religious awareness and to have a taste of veritable experience of Muslim life. This year the convention was held in Jammu on February 28 – March 1, 2009. Fr. Paul Jackson, the President of the Association writes about the convention in detail in this issue of Salaam. Fr. Paul Jackson is now revising the book, ‘Questions Muslims Ask’ published by ISA a few years ago. Christianity is a monotheistic religion believing in Trinity. So the basic question that the Muslims have about Christianity is, whether Christianity is a monotheistic religion in its strict sense. Fr. Paul Jackson describes about Christian’s belief in One God.
St Ethelburga, Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, is a small building in the heart of London that offers a peaceful place where people of all faiths build healthy relationships across political, religious and cultural divisions. It is the place where different faith traditions work together to promote reconciliation and peace "by creating safe space for difficult encounters, advancing practical models for reconciliation and inter-religious cooperation, and celebrating those who put them into practice, we can demonstrate an alternative to violent conflict." Fr. Victor Edwin narrates his personal experience of being to the St. Ethelburga.
We also present two interviews related to Christian-Muslim dialogue. Dr Chris Hewer is the St Ethelburga Fellow in Christian-Muslim Relations. Chris has a background in Christian theology, education and Islamic Studies and has worked in the field of Muslims in Britain and Christian-Muslim relations since 1986. From 1999 to 2005 worked as the Adviser on Inter-Faith Relations to the Bishop of Birmingham. Canon Dr Andrew Wingate is the director of St Philip's Centre, Leicester. He was involved in theological education for 25 years at the Tami Nadu Theological Seminary in Madurai and other places. He is now Director of the St Philip’s Centre for Study and Engagement in a Multi Faith Society, Bishop's Adviser on Inter Faith Relations, and a Canon Theologian. In 2007 he was appointed Chaplain to The Queen. Victor Edwin SJ interviewed both of them for Salaam.
The last article “A Madrasa with a Difference” by Yoginder Sikand is about a madrasa (an Islamic religious educational Centre), Jamia al-Islamiya, established in 1955. It is located at Shanthapuram, a township in the Mallapuram district of Kerala. It is one of the largest Islamic Centres in Kerala. The article helps us to have a proper understanding of the system of madrasa education in India.
Salaam expresses its best wishes and greetings of EASTER to all its readers.
The Contents of this issue:
Presidential Address - 14TH NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE ISLAMIC STUDIES ASSOCIATION
DO CHRISTIANS BELIEVE IN ONE GOD?
A DAY AT ST ETHELBURGA
CHRISTIAN - MUSLIM DIALOGUE: AN INTERVIEW
CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS NEED TO LISTEN WITH RESPECT: AN INTERVIEW
A Madrasa with a Difference
POPE'S MESSAGE TO CAMEROON MUSLIM LEADERS