ICJS Mission Expands To Include Islam

The Board of Trustees made a momentous decision to incorporate Islam fully into the mission and work of the ICJS. In the coming months, we will launch an international search for our first full-time Muslim scholar. 


On October 8, 2013, the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies made a momentous decision. After intensive deliberations, the Trustees voted to incorporate Islam fully into the mission and work of the ICJS. While the ICJS has hosted a variety of programs with Muslim scholars and conducted educational initiatives over the past decade to explore some of the texts and traditions of Islam, the Board concluded that Islam presents both challenges and opportunities that demand sustained and systematic exploration.

As we move in this new direction, our founding vision—to address the intractable misunderstandings and distrust that have characterized the Jewish-Christian encounter for over two thousand years—remains integral to our identity. However, our commitment to disarm religious intolerance and forge new and creative interreligious partnerships makes engagement with Islam a natural extension of our mission. Many of our Muslim counterparts also insist that their own communities have much to learn from their engagement with Jews and Christians. 

There is a growing recognition that “isolationism” is not a viable option for any community that is committed to the common good. The challenges of living in a religiously plural world and the difficulties in developing the educational understandings to overcome scriptural, historical, and theological distortions require representatives from all three traditions to work collaboratively.

In the coming months, we will launch an international search for our first full-time Muslim scholar. We are especially grateful to Dr. Homayra Ziad for serving as our first visiting Muslim scholar and for her ability to demonstrate the tremendous promise that emerges from disciplined engagement with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the friendship that can flourish through unflinchingly honest study.

Sincerely,

                                                  
Christopher M. Leighton
Executive Director
Thomas M. Brown
President of the Board