HEST on Christian Muslim relations in Innsbruck

On October 22nd and 23rd the cluster on Christian-Muslim dialogue of the HEST programme held an encounter in Innsbruck. The theme was “Studying, Teaching and Encountering Islam in Ignatian Contexts”.

The Higher Education for Social Transformation (HEST) is a programme promoted by the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials (JCEP). This is envisioned as a fifteen-year, pan-continental, cross-disciplinary endeavour aiming to provide quality research, put pressure for greater multinational cooperation, and strengthen the Jesuit identity of Jesuit Higher Education Institutions. The intention is to produce meaningful research on seven concrete topics that can be communicated to a range of audiences so as to promote progressive advocacy in each area.

The goals of the programme are set to be achieved via partnership, in-depth reflection and research, practical application, and with the benefit of the most marginalised on our continent always as the final objective.

At the gathering held in Austria, there were 18 scholars working on Islamic-Christian dialogue coming from Sankt Georgen (Frankfurt), Deusto University, Comillas University, Université Saint Joseph (Beirut), Facultad de Teología de Granada, Saint Thomas Institute (Moscow), Collegium Bobolanum Warsaw, PISAI (Rome), Universidad Loyola Andalucía and Innsbruck Faculty of Theology. There was also a Jesuit from the German Province working directly with Muslim migrants in the social apostolate. The meeting was coordinated by Michaela Quast-Neulinger (Innsbruck Faculty of Theology), Tobias Specker SJ (Sankt Georgen) and Gonzalo Villagrán SJ (Granada Faculty of Theology)

The event began with a talk by Philip Endean SJ on Ignatian spirituality and its historical contact with Islam. The Muslim Scholar Adnane Mokrani gave a reply. In the afternoon, Felix Körner SJ, from the Gregorian University, gave a lecture on Ignatian criteria for dialogue with Islam.

To conclude each session, Teresa Peter, a professor of practical theology working on interreligious dialogue in Innsbruck, gave us a sense of the group’s progress. On the second day, the participants shared the different projects and initiatives being carrying out in each institution and they took some time to reflect together on the development of the group.

“At the end of the meeting, we felt quite satisfied with the quality of the reflection and the deep links that are being built among the members of the cluster,” Gonzalo Villagrán SJ said. “After finishing our meeting we could feel how we had taken important steps towards a more effective networking in the intellectual apostolate and of dialogue with Islam at the service of the mission.”

This article was first published on Jesuits in Europe’s website.