Date(s) - Saturday, 16th January, 2016
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
The course is spread across two Saturdays, Part 2 on 23rd January.
Among other things participants will learn about the interesting differences between Shia, Sunni and Ahamadyya Islam, the impact of recent critical studies of the Quran and the attitudes of Muslims, past and present, to the claims of Christianity. In addition there will be time to look at the diverse and fast-growing Muslim community in the UK today (using 2011 census statistics), 50% of whose members are under the age of 25. In terms of recent developments in global Islam there will be time to consider the cultural spread of puritanical movements from Saudi Arabia, and the significance of the ‘Birmingham Quran’, which received much media attention in summer 2015.
The emphasis on the first Saturday is introductory, covering the emergence of Islam (and groups within Islam) against the 6th/7th Century AD historical background; the nature and importance of the Qur’an and Sharia Law and some statistics (based on the 2011 Census) and reflections on Islam in modern Britain.
On the second Saturday we will look at some key issues in greater depth, including an account of recent critical study of the Qur’an (with reference to the ‘Birmingham fragment’), women in Islam; and a further look at groups and sects within Islam. Finally we look at some Christian theological responses to Islam, re-evaluating the importance, for Christians, of the debates and insights of the Patristic period.
Stephen Laird is Chaplain and Associate Lecturer in Religious Studies at Kent University (where he has taught courses in Judaism and Islam) and Priest-in-Charge of Blean. Having had a traditional theological education, he only began to study Islam ‘late in life’ and has found the subject hugely exciting, realising how important it is for Christians to be clued up and ready to make informed responses to the theological claims and cultural spread of Islam.
It is hoped that everyone who comes to the first Saturday will want to come to the second. However, it is possible to book & attend either of the days.
Arrival from 9.30am, BYO lunch, tea/coffee provided
Bookings are closed for this event.