Understanding Islam

16/01/2013 12:54 pm

Muslim cemetery in Kyrgyzstan by Simon Garbutt

Estimates vary but two years ago, a report* estimated that there are some 2.8 million Muslims living in the UK - approximately 4.8% of the population.

How we relate to Muslims and understand Islam as Catholics are the key subjects of today's podcast.

How do we find respect for difference? What inspires Christians about Islam? Can the search for commonalities end in confusion? How do Muslims see Christianity, and how do Christians feel about this? Why do insights into Islam often lead Catholics to explore their own faith more deeply?

Jesuit priest Dr Damian Howard joins us to explore these questions - something he does regularly with participants attending a course he leads for Catholics living and working with Muslims called “Understanding Islam".

The course, free to attendees, is generously supported by Georgetown University and aims to “empower Catholics to deal more competently and confidently with Muslims”, and explores the difference within the one shared defining belief in the same all-powerful God of all creation.

For further information on the course, please email the Interreligious Adviser to the Bishops' Conference Katharina Smith-Müller.

For further opportunities for interreligious formation, events and news, visit Katharina's blog.


You can download or listen to the full interview at the top right-hand corner of this page.

Duration: 11m 52s


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The book that Father Damian Howard recommends is Understanding Islam. The First Ten Steps by Chris Hewer.

The BBC provides some basic information on Islam.

The Holy See publishes greeting messages to the Muslim community on the festival of Eid al Fitr every year alongside messages for the festivals of other religions.

Resources on interreligious dialogue, including bidding prayers for use on the festivals of others religions, can be found here: cbcew.org.uk/other-religions.

*On 16 September 2010, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published a table giving estimates of the Muslim population of each country in Western Europe.


Understanding Islam Interview

An interview with Jesuit priest Dr Damian Howard SJ.   understanding-islam.mp3 6.27 MB