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Story Magazine

First Quarter 2006

Amjad-Ali to Play Greater Role in Islamic Studies Program

Dr. Charles Amjad-Ali

Dr. Charles Amjad-Ali, Martin Luther King, Jr., Professor of Justice and Christian Community will take on additional responsibilities teaching and providing leadership for Luther Seminary's Islamic Studies Program, beginning July 1, 2006. He takes on these additional duties in light of the upcoming departure of current director and associate professor of Islamic studies, Dr. Mark Swanson, who has accepted a teaching position at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Amjad-Ali has been integral to the Islamic Studies Program at Luther Seminary since it began in 1993.

"Islam has been the closest neighbor of Christianity since its very inception; it has also always challenged the Christian vocation of loving the neighbor," said Amjad-Ali. "In recent years this challenge is more profound and more theologically demanding than ever before. It challenges our theological as well as witnessing vocation.

We at Luther took this vocational challenge and set up the Islamic Studies Program in 1993 before Islam was thrust on our consciousness so pervasively in September 2001. We have an almost unparalleled experience and a proven track record.We have produced leaders who are already playing critical roles around the world during the current crisis of Christian-Muslim encounters and even between Islam and the West."

Dr. Marc Kolden, chair of the history/theology division, echoes Amjad-Ali. "Luther Seminary is committed to teaching Islam in its preparation of persons for leadership in Christian communities. The challenge of Christianity's encounter with Islam throughout the world, and more recently in the United States, makes the theological task of making a Christian witness to Islam more urgent than ever."

Ordained in the Church of Pakistan, Amjad-Ali is an internationally known teacher, scholar and social activist. He has traveled the world teaching and working with ecumenical and human-rights organizations. These have included a special commission of the World Council of Churches on Christian-Muslim relations, the International Franciscan Commission on Christian-Muslim relations, and the Lutheran World Federation and Global Methodist Church Christian-Muslim dialogue groups.

For 10 years he served as Director of the Christian Study Centre in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, one of the leading institutes for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim dialogue and relations. He has published extensively on Islam around the world and is currently finishing a book, Islamophobia or Restorative Justice: Tearing the Veil of Ignorance that will be published in South Africa at the end of March. He holds a Ph.D. in Theology and Political Theory, magna cum laude, from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a postdoctoral certificate in Islamic Law from Columbia University.

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