On April 20, the Religious Freedom Institute and the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame are hosting a symposium titled “What Is To Be Done?: Responding to the Global Persecution of Christians” at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. as part of the Under Ceasar’s Sword Project. A brief description of the event follows:
This one-day symposium will feature the launch of the report, In Response to Persecution, of the Under Caesar’s Sword Project.
How do Christians respond to persecution? How can the rest of the world exercise solidarity with them? This day-long public symposium will propose concrete recommendations for action in response to these questions. It will feature globally prominent speakers on religious freedom and leading scholars of global Christianity. A highlight will be the launch of the report, In Response to Persecution, which conveys the results of the Under Caesar’s Sword project, the world’s first systematic global investigation of Christian responses to persecution, featuring findings from over 25 of the world’s most repressive countries. In attendance at the symposium will be government officials, business leaders, academics, and religious leaders, as well as representatives of non-governmental, human rights, and news organizations.
More information on the symposium can be found here.
In May, Brill Publishers will release Christian Engagement with Islam: Ecumenical Journeys since 1910 by Douglas Pratt (University of Waikato). The publisher’s description follows:
Why did the Christian Church, in the twentieth century, engage in dialogue with Islam? What has been the ecumenical experience? What is happening now? Such questions underlie Douglas Pratt’s Christian Engagement with Islam: Ecumenical Journeys since 1910. Pratt charts recent Christian (WCC and Vatican) engagement with Islam up to the early 21st century and examines the ecumenical initiatives of Africa’s PROCMURA, ‘Building Bridges’, and the German ‘Christian-Muslim Theological Forum’, together with responses to the 2007 ‘Common Word’ letter.
Between them, Islam and Christianity represent over half the earth’s population. Their history of interaction, positive and negative, impacts widely still today. Contentious issues remain real enough, yet the story and ongoing reality of contemporary Christian-Muslim engagement is both exciting and encouraging.
In May, Georgetown University Press will release The War against al-Qaeda: Religion, Policy, and Counter-narratives by Nahed Artoul Zehr (Executive Director of the Faith & Culture Center in Nashville). The publisher’s description follows:
In this original and provocative book, Nahed Artoul Zehr explores the theological underpinnings of al-Qaeda and related Islamic movements such as ISIS. She demonstrates how this marginal narrative transformed al-Qaeda from a relatively hierarchical and regional organization to a globalized, decentralized, and diffuse system of networks. She draws connections between religious ideas and strategy in her translation and analysis of leading theoretical and tactical jihad text, The Global Islamic Resistance Call, by Mustafa abu Mus’ ab al-Suri.
Just as importantly, she questions al-Qaeda’s understanding of the Islamic tradition on the use of force, arguing that it reflects a weak understanding of this tradition. More specifically, it is al-Qaeda’s (and related groups’) break with this tradition that is key to an al-Qaeda defeat.
Simultaneously, Zehr critiques the US military and policy establishment as it attempts to offer counter-narratives to the al-Qaeda phenomenon that emphasizes “good Muslims” versus “bad Muslims” in order to embrace a “moderate” form of Islam. According to Zehr, this approach is misguided: it is beyond the US government’s purview and expertise to make such theological claims about Islam. Better, she argues, to note the counter-narratives that are coming from within the Muslim community and other nongovernment institutions interested in moving this work forward.
By refocusing our attention on al-Qaeda’s narrative and the various ways that
it is being contested, the book provides an alternate lens from which to view
al-Qaeda and the al-Qaeda phenomenon for Islamic and US foreign policy scholars and students.