Christian-Muslim dialogue explores challenge of peace

Scott Alexander and Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini discussws how peace and justice can be achieved through interfaith dialogue between two of the world’s leading faith traditions Thursday, Sept. 14 in the Andrews Auditorium of Geddes Hall.


Alexander is an associate professor of Islamic Studies and director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Imam Al-Qazwini is a scholar, educator and advocate for Islam in America and in 2015 founded the Islamic Institute of America in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.


“Christians believe in dialogue. That dialogue is modeled by God’s dialogue with humanity. Indeed, the dialogue in which Alexander and Imam Al-Qazwini are engaged is a critical part of each of our religious experience,” said Rev. Kevin Sandberg, acting executive director of the Center for Social Concerns. “Pope Benedict XVI said, ‘Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is in fact a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends.’ The Center for Social Concerns has long cultivated dialogue as a critical methodology in the discovery of truth and the common good on which justice and peace are predicated.”


This year’s lecture aligned with the center’s Catholic social tradition theme for the year, “Living the Challenge of Peace,” which derives from a pastoral letter issued by the U.S. bishops in 1983. Though the main emphasis in 1983 was on the just-war tradition, pacifism and nuclear arms, the message is still relevant 35 years later on how people of faith can address the many tensions in our world from race, labor and religion to technology, the environment and the arms trade.


The Rev. Bernie Clark, C.S.C., Lecture on Catholic Social Tradition was created in 2009 to serve as an annual reminder of Father Clark’s deep and enduring commitment to social justice in the Catholic social tradition. This year’s lecture marks the beginning of a yearlong series of justice education events at the Center for Social Concerns focused on the theme of Living the Challenge of Peace.


Originally published by Katie McCauley at on September 14, 2017.