WAAAUB Holds First Ever International Convention: Commitment to AUB and Enhancing Ties among Alumni  
AUBMC Receives US Accreditation
Seven New Members to Join the AUB Board of Trustees
Establishment of the Michael Atiyah Chair in Mathematical Sciences at AUB
AUB Nutrition and Food Science Department Named as WHO Collaborating Center
Academic Excellence Rewarded: AUB's Merit Scholarships
AUB Announces New Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service
Shahe Kazarian's - Reflections of My I (Published by Cadmus Project: 2007)
Faculty Profile: Patrick Lewtas
Professor Mrad Lectures Abroad
Staff Profile: Ramzieh Saad
Essay Competition Honors Arab World's 'Prince of Poets'
Donald Mitchell Examines Control Over City Streets
The Political Consequences of American Romanticism
Juan Cole Points at Failures in United States
Scholar Studies Impact of Terrorism on American Imports
Ambassador Evaluates Role of United Kingdom in the Arab World
A View of Islam in the Eighth Century
The Need for Dialogue Between Religions
Istanbul's Pleasures Revealed
National Identity Without Citizenship?
On-line Workshops Help Train Journalists
Student Artwork Exhibited at Jafet Library
Amulets and Talismans at the AUB Museum
Living with Animals: To Prevent Torture and the Impact of War
Women's Auxiliary Holiday Luncheon
Home of Hope Orphans Tour AUB Medical Center
Italian Opera Recital at Assembly Hall
Strengthening Ukraine and Lebanese Relations with Music
AUB Music Club Concert
From Sufi Chant to Oriental Jazz
AUB Choir and Choral Society Celebrate Christmas
Benefit Christmas Concerts Help Ayadina Center
Red Cross Club Forms Human Ribbon
January 2008 Vol. 9 No. 4

The Need for Dialogue Between Religions

Father Samir Khalil and Professor Maher Jarrar

In a lecture sponsored in College Hall by the Anis Makdisi Program in Literature on December 10, Father Samir Khalil, who holds a doctorate in Islamic Studies from the Aix-en-Provence University in France, made an impassioned call for a more active promotion of dialogue between religions in order to bring about peace among countries.

Father Khalil began by saying there is no longer any need to ask whether a dialogue between religions is needed, but rather that the dialogue has become absolutely essential. And now, he insisted, is the time to ask how this dialogue can be initiated.

Religion, he said, has permeated the normal individual's everyday life, a fact that has given way to clashes between cultures and religions. Therefore, if people from different religions wish to coexist, they should choose a system of rule that respects all religions in order to unite them. He warned that adopting a system of rule that adopts only one religion would lead to extremism. The cause of the divide between religions, he said, has several reasons, among them the fall of the Ottoman empire and the formation of Israel.

Father Khalil observed that religion has become more of an ideology rather than a commitment of faith. There is a need for people of different religions to start viewing each other from the other's respective religion, saying that in order to understand each other, we have to understand where the other is coming from. This, unfortunately, has been very rare and difficult. In fact, he added, there is a lot of ignorance about different religions that only serves to increase the divide between them.

On an optimistic note, Father Khalil noted the instances in history when religions, particularly Islam and Christianity, were able to overcome their differences. The essential thing, he said, is for each religion to acknowledge and accept the other. In Lebanon, he stated that the clash between religions is rooted in sectarianism and the people's inability to accept modernity, saying that modernism is present in Lebanon, but people have failed to embrace it.

Father Khalil, who is a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Saint Joseph and the head of the International Association for Christian Arabic Studies, has several publications dealing with Islam and Christianity.