Luke Bretherton reflects on interfaith hospitality after adhan debate

BrethertonIn an opinion piece for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, KIE Senior Fellow and Co-Convenor of the Religions and Public Life program Luke Bretherton (Divinity) recently wrote about the amended plans for a weekly Muslim call to prayer to be made from the Duke Chapel bell tower.

What the action does raise is the question of how should we undertake interfaith relations in a time when the relationship between different faiths and political life is under intense, often violent negotiation at a local, national and international level throughout the world.

This is no small matter. What should be the response for those who, like the leaders of Duke Chapel, are seeking to find a proactive and constructive response to events in the world and thereby show a better way of fostering a peaceable common life? Is such a response best undertaken by religious professionals and specialists, and conceived of as a directly religious action, as happened at Duke? Or is it best to find ways to manage interfaith relations from “above” by governments and the likes of university administrators? Or should such responses emerge from bottom up, peer-to-peer, relationally driven initiatives understood as forms of civic rather than religious practice?