Friday January 19, 2007

How Do We See the 'Other?'

Misunderstandings between Christians and Muslims will be the topic of a Greater Dayton Interfaith Trialogue discussion Feb. 4 at the University of Dayton.

President Bush's call for a "crusade" against terrorism after Sept. 11 led many to expect a clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims.

Did Pope Benedict XVI really mean to say that Islam's main contribution to public discourse has been to settle religious debates through violence?

Is it reasonable to suspect that a group of men who pray together in Arabic before boarding a domestic commercial flight are plotting terrorism?

The Rev. Elias Mallon, a Roman Catholic scholar who has been involved in the Catholic/Christian-Muslim dialogue for more than 20 years, will explore these issues when the Greater Dayton Interfaith Trialogue hosts "Christians and Muslims: How Do We See the 'Other?"' from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, in the Sears Recital Hall in the Jesse Philips Humanities Building at the University of Dayton. It's free and open to the public.

Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions and express their own insights after Mallon's presentation. "The purpose of the event is to encourage participants in all three of the Abrahamic traditions, as well as others, to find ways to examine long-held assumptions in a way that promotes respect for the faith traditions of others," said Kenneth Clark, chairman of the Trialogue.

Mallon has published two books and numerous articles on Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. His most recent is Islam: What Catholics Need to Know. He works with the Archdiocese of New York, the National Council of Churches of Christ and the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

Sponsors include the Greater Dayton Interfaith Trialogue, Greater Dayton Christian Connections, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the University of Dayton's religious studies department. Mallon's presentation is made possible by the Franciscans Network.

Contact Kenneth Clark at or Juanita Wehrle-Einhorn at or 937-775-3207.