Visits to Canada, Scotland and the Netherlands Between October and November, 201 7 Dr Shomali undertook a number of important visits. interviewed him after his return to get an insight into the purpose of the visits.
InthenameofGod theBeneficenttheMerciful bout two years ago I received a joint invitation from a group of Mennonite Christians and some Shi‘a Muslims from the city of Edmonton in Alberta – Canada, who had invited me and Professor Harry Huebner from the Canadian Mennonite University of Winnipeg, to go there and deliver a series of lectures. I quickly accepted because the invitation came from Christian friends and a Shi‘a Muslim organisation - to me this was a sign of unity and I thought I should support it. Unfortunately for some reasons the event didn’t materialise. About a year ago Professor Huebner and I received again their invitation for a serious of events and we started working on them. The main invitation came from ‘A Common Word Alberta’ initiative. The ACW is a worldwide enterprise launched in
Alberta Canada in 2007 as ‘a letter signed by 138 leading Muslims to the leaders of the Christian churches and denominations of the entire world. It proposed, based on verses from the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible that Islam and Christianity share the commandments of the paramount importance of loving God and loving one’s neighbour. It is an extended global handshake of inter-religious goodwill, friendship, and fellowship and consequently of world peace’.(from http://www.acwalberta.ca/who-we-are)
The event was the 5th annual
Christian – Muslim Dialogue, organised for the last week of October which coincides with interfaith week when universities, Christian and Muslim communities all get involved. The planned event was to take place in
different locations between the city of Edmonton and Camrose. Professor Harry Huebner and I were supposed to be the main speakers. Unfortunately Professor Huebner fell ill and could not make it; however, he was substituted by three Mennonites: Professor Huebner’s son Chris Huebner, Dr Urma Fast Dueck both from the University of Winnipeg and Pastor Doug Klassen from Calgary. I arrived in Edmonton on 25th October. The opening event with Pastor Doug Klassen and I, was held at Islamic Shi‘a Ithna Asheri Associaton (ISIA). The theme of the discussion was: ‘The concept of self-sacrifice for faith communities as embodied by Imam Husayn (a) and Prophet Jesus(a)’. This was followed by a Q&A session. The whole event was excellent and attended by many Christians and Muslims. The following day our dialogue programme was held at Kings University. This was originally a Biblical collage but was later turned into a university. Dr Fast Dueck and I had a session on Dialogue on MuslimChristian Relations in which we talked about the history of our engagement and presented our reflections on the topic. This was followed by a Q&A session. In the evening we had a regular Thursday programme in the Islamic Shi‘a Ithna Asheri mosque. As it was also the anniversary of Imam Hasan’s(a) martyrdom, I talked about Imam Hasan (a), his advice and spirituality. January January 2018 2018