Lecture Focuses on the Importance of Christian-Muslim Understanding


        With much being written about the impact of relations between Jews and Muslims on stability in the Middle East, a lecture at The University of Scranton titled “In Love with Islam, Believing in Jesus” will emphasize the importance of mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims for peace in the region.

        The lecture – scheduled for Monday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pearn Auditorium on the second floor of Brennan Hall – will be presented by Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio, S.J., founder and director of Deir Mar Musa, a Catholic monastery located outside Damascus, Syria. At this desert location, Fr. Dall’Oglio and other monks and nuns seek to develop a shared culture based on values such as peace, deep respect, and both interpersonal and intercommunity interaction.

        In 1982, as a young Jesuit student of Arabic, Fr. Dall’Oglio spent 10 days at the ruins of Deir Mar Musa. Through contemplation, he discovered three universal priorities: spiritual life, evangelical simplicity and hospitality. Upon those pillars, he and the Deir Mar Musa community have nurtured a culture that combines Christianity, the Arabic language and a Syrian identity.

        Fr. Dall’Oglio holds a Ph.D. in Islamic studies, and the work of the monastery has been featured in The New York Times and National Geographic among other publications. At the lecture, he will also discuss the goals and daily life of Deir Mar Musa.

        Earlier in the day, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Fr. Dall’Oglio will join Rabbi Roger Lerner, spiritual leader of Temple B’nai B’rith in Kingston, and Dr. Shalahudin Kafrawi, who teaches Islam at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in a symposium titled “Abrahamic Faiths in Dialogue: Resources and Questions.” The principals will discuss the resources for and challenges of interreligious engagement, as well as local efforts to facilitate that dialogue.

        Both events, which are free and open to the public, will be followed by question-and-answer sessions. Organized by the Theology/Religious Studies Department at Scranton, both events are co-sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and The University of Scranton Offices of Equity and Diversity, Education for Justice, and Multicultural Affairs.

        For additional information, please contact Christian Krokus, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology/religious studies, at 941-4546 or krokusc2@scranton.edu.

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