ERBIL: In order to overcome the murderous madness of the Islamic State, which has covered with blood a land already brutalised by years of wars and violence, it is necessary to start with “a plan of dialogue and outreach at the local level”, involving first of all children and young people, the new generations, “who will be tasked with building life together” beyond their respective religions.
Starting from such premises, Fr Samir Youssef, pastor of the diocese of Amadiya (Iraqi Kurdistan) who has long been on the frontline of the refugee emergency, is promoting a project to transform “young Muslims, Christians and Yazidis” into “seeds of dialogue ” to breathe new life into Mosul, the Nineveh plain, and Iraq as a whole.
Speaking to AsiaNews, the priest mentioned an initiative that is in its initial stage, but one that has already garnered “the enthusiastic participation” of some thirty of…
Humphrey Fisher is not the first link between the Welsh borders and Islam! The fantastic Muslim Museum Initiative includes a coin that King Offa had minted with an Arabic inscription. Fascinating how the contact goes back so far: http://muslimmuseum.org.uk/king-offas-dinar/
Offa’s dyke runs through Newchurch, where Humphrey lives, and he has walked many sections of the Offa’s Dyke Path, little realising the connection with his academic work on Islamic history!
Indeed another section on the website shows the Celtic cross with Islamic inscription, physical evidence of the long-thought of links between the Celtic and Arabic worlds.
Here is the text on the MMI website, courtesy of the British Museum where the coin is held.
In 773-774 King Offa of Mercia minted a coin that imitated a dinar. It bears the shahadah (Islamic declaration of faith). It is on display at the British Museum.
An Islamic inscription on an English coin
This unique gold coin of Offa, king of Mercia, is one of the most remarkable English coins of the Middle Ages. It is remarkable because it imitates a gold dinar of the caliph al-Mansur, ruler of the Islamic Abbasid dynasty. Although the Arabic inscription is not copied perfectly, it is close enough that it is clear that the original from which it was copied was struck in the Islamic year AH 157 (AD 773-74). It seems that the engraver had no understanding of the Arabic script: the name and title OFFA REX has been inserted upside down in relation to the Arabic inscription.
The purpose of the coin is uncertain. It has been suggested that it was made as a gift for the pope (it was first recorded in Rome), but it is unlikely that any Christian king would have sent the pope a coin with and inscription stating that ‘there is no God but Allah alone’, however badly the Arabic had been copied. It is more likely that it was designed for use in trade; Islamic gold dinars were the most important coinage in the Mediterranean at the time. Offa’s coin looked enough like the original that it would be readily accepted in southern Europe, while at the same time his own name was clearly visible.
Top Muslim and Christian clerics from the Middle East gathered in Cairo on Tuesday for a two-day conference on promoting co-existence, as sectarian conflict continues to ravage the region. The “Freedom and Citizenship” conference is hosted by Al-Azhar, one of the leading Sunni Muslim authorities based in Cairo. It comes as Coptic Christians in Egypt’s […]
When the Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump stated in December 2015 that the United States should close its borders to all Muslims, the reaction from American Christian leaders was admirably swift. Mainline Protestant clergy, prominent evangelicals, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops all lambasted it. “Anyone who cares an iota about religious liberty should […]
Understanding the present from the past and creating hope for the future – may Humphrey’s friend Dr Kenneth Cragg’s dream of bringing Muslims and Christians together at the deepest level of their contrasting faith journeys come true this year.
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Cragg, who passed away in November of 2012, dedicated his long career to bringing Muslims and Christians together at the deepest level of their contrasting faith journeys. The article linked below is an interview he did in 1999 which should be read by all wanting to understand the foundations of the current crisis in Muslim- Christian relations as well as positive ways forward.
You’ve said that Christians and Muslims should be trying to work for religious ecumenism. What does ecumenism look like from a Muslim perspective?
It depends on which Muslim you ask, of course, as it would depend on which Christian you asked. The word ecumenae means the whole inhabited world. But we seem to have limited it to Christian togetherness, to Christian mutuality. Couldn’t we have an ecumenae of religions?
The ecumenical movement has adopted the position that “whatever is Christian I will try…
Can’t resist posting this, our first blog, again this year!
float used at the procession for the lantern festival on the eve of Id-al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), taken by Humphrey Fisher in Freetown, Sierra Leone, January 12th, 1967. Freetown is on the Atlantic coast of Africa, and Humphrey spent Christmas 2013 with us on the Atlantic coast in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
Reflecting on his life spanning Islam and Christianity, we decided to start this blog together.
has been a hallmark of Humphrey’s view of life. He has engaged with so many different Christian denominations in his life (spirituality) and in his research (Africa). While his academic career developed his focus on Islam south of the Sahara, his personal life drew him to become a Quaker and later to be ordained in the Church in Wales. And one of his earliest articles was on religious toleration among Muslim and other religious groups in West Africa, published in Patterns of Prejudice, a journal of the Institute of Jewish Affairs.
At this time of the birth of Jesus, so important in Islam and Christianity, we wish you