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Christian and Muslim promote spiritual solidarity

Christian and Muslim promote spiritual solidarity

Authors Nayla Tabbara (c), Fadi Daou (r) and translator Alan J. Amos (l) during the book launch at Bossey. ©Marcelo Schneider/WCC

14 June 2017

Nayla Tabbara is a Sunni Muslim scholar. Fadi Daou is a Maronite priest and theologian. Both are from Lebanon. Together they have discovered something startling about God.

Daou and Tabarra are the authors of Divine Hospitality: A Christian-Muslim Conversation, a volume made available in English by WCC Publications and launched at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey on 5 June.

The book argues that each tradition, in its authoritative sources, affirms the gift of the other and shows respect and admiration of the other as an authentic way to God. If, they argue, God is hospitable to the other, how can we not be?

The work was originally published in French, then in Arabic and German, and now is translated into English and published by the WCC, which will help this significant theological writing reach an Anglophone audience.

The project started with an article, written by Daou, of theological reflections on Christian-Muslim encounter. When the text came out, Tabbara had already started to work on an article on the same issue from a Muslim perspective.

“It was a spiritual experience. It was an opportunity to go deeper into the universal aspect of my Christian faith,” said Daou. “I understood that I cannot embrace the whole dimension of my faith if I exclude the other,” he added.

Tabbara engaged in research on how the Qur’an perceives the other: “I found out that the Qur’an does not see others as infidels, but sees the ‘people of the book’[Jews and Christians] as believers,” she said. “This process of study made me understand that the main message of the Qur’an is a message of openness, of conviviality,” added Tabbara.

For Clare Amos, WCC’s programme executive and coordinator for interreligious dialogue and cooperation programme, the combination of scholarship, a willingness to look at tradition through fresh eyes and discover new insights, and an awareness of the responsibility of theology to speak into contemporary realities is also what marks out the book.

“Hospitality, the theme around which the book revolves, is not an optional extra but is an image has been fundamental to the lived experience of the Middle East for many centuries, despite the current painful actualities of the region,” said Amos.

Watch a video interview with the authors and the translator of "Divine Hospitality"

"Divine Hospitality" is available at Amazon.com