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American Muslim & Catholic Scholars Produce Educators' Guides on Each Others Religions

Published: 11/05/2012 10:14:23 AM GMT
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25 April 2012 Two books for religious educators are in the final states of preparation. One is a book on Catholocism prepared b (more)

25 April 2012

Two books for religious educators are in the final states of preparation. One is a book on Catholocism prepared by Muslims and the other is a book on islam prepared by catholics.

Though the books are prepared by members of the other faith, they are reviewed and critiqued by members of the faith they are about.

The two books are: Understanding Islam: A Guide for Catholic Educators and Understanding Catholicism: A Guide for Muslim Educators.

Shaykh Aboor Rahman Khan is the main contributor on the book about Catholicism. Sandra Keating, Ph.D., of Providence College, is the primary contributor on the book about Islam.

Drafts of the two books were presented at a two-day meeting of Catholic bishops and Muslim scholars which took place from 11-12 April.

The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Talat Sultan of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and Bishop Barry Knestout, auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C.

Muslim participants at the meeting said that the guide about Islam contained historical inaccuracies that need to be corrected.

ICNA president Dr. Zahid Bukhari (pictured) and Dr. Muhammad Abdul Jabbar urged that the final draft needs to de-emphasize its historical tone and incorporate more core Islamic values that communicate an accurate vision of Islam as a dynamic and living tradition.

Catholic participants, in turn, asked that the guide about Catholocism be altered by its Muslim authors to better portray the central teachings of the Trinity and Incarnation as they are understood by Catholics rather than by the Muslim faith.

Utilizing the comments offered by the drafting committees, both religious groups are now in the process of completing the final editing of their projects.

Both books are scheduled to be completed within the next few of months, with the two teams working closely together.

"These materials should ensure a respectful and accurate presentation of the beliefs and practices of both Catholicism and Islam," said Bishop Knestout.

Muslim participants in the project include ICNA president Zahid Bukhari, Ph.D.; Shaykh Abdur Rahman Khan, resident scholar, Islamic Foundation Villa Park, Chicago; Naeem Baig, Ph.D., executive director, ICNA Council for Social Justice; Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, Ph., of Bayshore, New York; Muhammad T. Rahman, secretary general of ICNA; Khursid Khan, Ph.D., principal of MDQ Academy, Bayshore, New York; and Ishtiaq Gondal, Ph.D., professor of Islamic studies, Punjab, Pakistan.

Catholic participants include Al Grindon, Immaculate Heart High School, Altadena, California; Rev. Dr. Sidney Griffith, chairman of the Institute of Christian Oriental Research, The Catholic University of America (CUA); Pim Valkenberg, Ph.D., professor of religion, CUA; Sandra Keating, Professor of Religion, Providence College; Paulist Father Tom Ryan, , ecumenical and interreligious officer, North American Paulist Center, Washington; Kirsten Evans, program specialist, Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (SEIA), U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); and Anthony Cirelli, Ph.D., associate director, USCCB SEIA.


"U.S. Bishops Continue Interreligious Dialogue" National Catholic Register April 25, 2012

"Mid-Atlantic Catholic-Muslim Dialogue Nears Completion of Interreligious Education Guides" USCCB April 20, 2012

Reproduced with permission from Islam Today