University platform for research on Islam

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HEST Cluster: Christian-Muslim Relations (Europe)

Higher Education for Social Transformation (HEST) programme aims to bring Higher Education institutions and Social Centres of the Society of Jesus in Europe together so that they can contribute to the real changes our societies need by developing sound research.

The topic on Christian Muslim Relations gathers a cluster of Jesuit Higher Education Institutions working on the study of Islam itself, Christian-Muslim interreligious dialogue and dialogue with Islam on social issues. The goal is to connect the research of these institutions with other networks (social centers, schools…) of the Jesuit apostolate in Europe.

Partner institutions :

Universidad Loyola Andalucía, Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, Universität Innsbruck, Universidad de Deusto, Université Saint-Joseph (Beyrouth), Centres Sèvres, Collegium Bobolanum

Because the majority of Jesuit institutions interested in Christian-Muslim relations are already part of the network Pluriel, in dialogue with the Pluriel coordination committee, we foresee coordinating our efforts for the HEST project within Pluriel’s network. Therefore, we are moving in the direction of creating a subgroup of institutions inside Pluriel, working among themselves, but also sharing the same common goals of the entire network.

The main trait that all the members have in common is the will to approach Islam and Christian-Muslim relationships in a way that reflects Ignatian spirituality’s main caracteristics. The development of an Ignatian inspired methodology of dialogue with Islam – in the line of past historical contacts between Jesuits and Muslims – becomes then a main goal of our cluster.

Because on the main traits of Ignatian spirituality is the desire to contemplate our present world as God does and be moved to action by that contemplation, we take as a goal in our cluster to develop a certain transformative social influence in the field of dialogue with the Muslim tradition. This goal coincides with HEST ultimate inspiration. This influence is extremely needed in fields like education, social integration of migrants, development of religious freedom and other basic rights…

At the same time, as scholars, we feel responsible for doing a high quality and rigorous academic work that includes a deep and long study of Muslim and Christian sources. Only such a work may actually contribute to real progress in Christian-Muslim interreligious dialogue and may offer the Church a view of itself that overcome prejudices and facilitate entering in relations and working with Muslim communities.

In the best of the Jesuit tradition we want to articulate such rigorous academic approach with a more transformative one as the best way to produce real and fruitful knowledge. The diversity of our institutions and of their contexts may be very helpful in order to achieve such an articulation.

All these efforts will necessarily require a direct contact with Muslim communities and individuals, our relationships and friendships with them will make real our desire to contribute to Muslim-Christian dialogue. We hope to share and foster such key relationships.

Ultimately, as scholars working in this fields and as members of Jesuit institutions we want to be an instrument at the service of the Society of Jesus’s mission in Europe (and the Middle East?), which has as one of its priorities the Christian-Muslim relationships.

Group members

Dirk Ansorge

Professor of Dogmatic Theology - Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen.

Maryam Ballout

Assistant to the Cluster on Christian-Muslim Relations of the HEST Programme of the Jesuit Universities of Europe (Kircher Network)

Josep Buades

Director of the Claver Association, Jesuit Service for Migrants in Spain

Alberto Priego Moreno

Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas

Michaela Quast-Neulinger

Professor of Fundamental Theology and Religious Studies at the Faculty of Catholic Theology in Innsbruck

Fermín Francisco Rodriguez Lopez

Research fellow at the Andalusian chair for interreligious dialogue with islam - CANDIR

Ignacio Sepúlveda del Río

Assistant professor of political philosophy and philosophy of religion - Universidad Loyola Andalucía.

Tobias Specker

Junior professor “Catholic Theology in the Light of Islam” - Hochschule für Philosophie und Theologie Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt.

Roula Talhouk

Director of the Institute for the study of Muslim--Christian relations. Professor of theology and religious anthropology

Gonzalo Villagrán

Dean of the Faculty of Theology of Universidad Loyola in Granada. Professor of Christian social ethics