European Symposium "Islam-Christianity" at Deusto

European Symposium

28 August 2023

Bilbao Campus

On 12, 13 and 14 July, the 3rd International Symposium of the HEST cluster on Islam-Christian relations was held at the University of Deusto under the title: «Universal-Communitarian-Approaches to Social Values in Christianity and Islam«. HEST (Higher Education for Social Transformation) is a programme of the Kircher Network, a network of Jesuit universities in Europe and Lebanon. With this symposium, the Islam-Christian relations cluster proves to be one of the most dynamic ones in the network.

The symposium, featuring Gorka Urrutia, Director of the Human Rights Institute of the University of Deusto, brought together professors and students working on this issue at Jesuit universities and university training centres, as well as professors from other universities. The various papers at the symposium explored the legitimacy of speaking of universal values - rooted in human nature - present in all religions. These values could be a starting point for an Islamo-Christian dialogue. It was also discussed whether the concept of ethics as understood by Christianity could find an equivalent in the Islamic tradition or whether this tradition deals with moral issues from the point of view of law through the concept of Shari'a (or Islamic law) and fiqh (or jurisprudence). The discussion on the meaning of the Western concept of citizenship and that of al-muwâtana in the Islamic world was also brought to the forefront.

Since both Christian and Muslim professors participated in the symposium, the meeting was not just an academic discussion but became a space for interreligious dialogue, both theoretical and practical, on the small things of everyday life.

The opening address entitled «European laicity on a global scale. The osmosis between the religious and secular juridical orders» was delivered by Professor Alessandro Ferrari (University of Insubria - Italy). The osmosys between the religious and secular juridical orders».

The event was attended by three professors from Loyola University. The Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Gonzalo Villagrán SJ, who presented the political thought of the controversial figure of Sayyid Qutb, the professor and Jesuit Jaime Flaquer, who talked about the Pakistani reformist Muhammad Iqbal, and professor Susana Vilas-Boas who spoke on forgiveness and reconciliation in the Koran and the Bible. In addition to Loyola, the event also featured professors or students from the universities of Deusto (with Professor Gorka Urrutia), PTH Sankt Georgen (Frankfurt - Germany), University of Innsbruk (Austria), Université Saint Joseph (Beirut - Lebanon), Centre Sèvres (Paris - France), Akademia Ignatianum (Krakow - Poland), Collegium Bobolanum (Warsaw - Poland), Hochschule für Philosophie (Munich - Germany) and the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana (Rome - Italy).

A consolidated cluster

With this third symposium, the two webinars on democracy in Islamic countries and the annual international online course on the theology of Islam-Christian dialogue, the cluster has strengthened its dynamism.

The cluster's core centre is located at Loyola University, in particular at its Faculty of Theology, with the Dean as cluster leader, working together with Prof. Tobias Specker SJ (PTH Sankt Georgen) and Prof. Michaela Quast-Neulinger (Innsbruck). The determined efforts of Susana Di Trolio, Executive Secretary of the Kircher Network, succeeded in getting this symposium included in the Erasmus programmes.

This networking carried out at the Granada campus contributes to the international outreach of the Andalusian Chair for the Dialogue of Religions, whose director is Professor Jaime Flaquer SJ.