Summary of 2016 Conference

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Dr Dwight Swanson

At the end of the 2016 MCSCI Conference, “Evangelical Responses to Islamic Revival”, there was a review of all the main content that had been presented during the 3-day event. Anchored by Dr Dwight Swanson, Co-Director of MCSCI, this aimed to give a brief summary of everything that had gone before.

This 20-minute recording may be a good starting point for you if you are new to the field, want to know which speeches might interest you further and the ethos of the whole event.

Listen to the summary

This is a recording of the speech, which has been edited for clarity and to remove some questions (which could not be heard over the microphone).

Christian Responses to Islam in Europe (speech)

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Gordon Hickson

Gordon Hickson

The speech “Christian Responses to Islam in Europe” was given by Gordon Hickson. Gordon is the National Co-ordinator for Mahabba.

This will be the final speech at the MCSCI Conference in January 2016.

Listen to this speech

This is a recording of the speech, which has been edited for clarity and to remove some questions (which could not be heard over the microphone).

Abstract: Christian Responses to Islam in Europe

Gordon writes:

The last generation of responses to Islam in Britain and Europe have largely tended to feature the specialists and returning missionaries who have worked overseas with Muslim people groups.

The landscape across Europe has now changed making it imperative that we find God’s strategy to awaken the sleeping giant of the church, out of its fear or often indifference, and enable them to see local Muslim people as incredible “treasures in darkness” that are surrounding us, longing to really know God, and have an encounter with him.

Gordon will talk from his personal experience from the perspective of Mahabba, which is motivating and mobilizing a new generation of ordinary Christians who are willing to sacrificially pray for and reach out to their Muslim neighbours. Both the Polemic and the Irenic responses have been used successfully, so we will talk through the dynamics of our responses and the opportunities that are facing us.

When can I hear him?

Gordon is expected to bring the conference’s final speech, “Christian Responses to Islam in Europe”, on Saturday 9th January 2016 at approximately 9:30am. Day visitors are asked to arrive no later than 9:15am to allow time for registration.

Please note that all times are given as-planned in good faith, but the schedule may be amended without notice if required.

Who is he?

Gordon Hickson comes from a military and business background working across the Middle East. He then worked for 5 years in Africa and Asia as the International Campaign Director for Reinhard Bonnke, working into a number of Islamic Cities. On his return he became an Assemblies of God Minister, and their Missions Director for the Muslim World.

After many years of pastoring, he travelled extensively ministering with Heartcry, the Ministry developed by his wife Rachel, as well as setting up the London Prayernet as a 24/7 prayer shield over London. For several years he also travelled with Bro Yun, the Heavenly Man, before finally being hi-jacked by God into the Anglican Church!

In 2005 he was ordained in the Anglican Church, and served for almost 6 years as Parish Vicar of St Aldates Church in Oxford, where he set up the ministry of Mahabba with Tim Green.

Since 2012 he has been the National Coordinator for Mahabba, motivating and mobilizing ordinary Christians to unveil Jesus to Muslims. He is married to Rachel who runs her Charity “Heartcry for Change”, and they have four grandchildren and two married children, Nicola who has just planted a new Hillsong Church in Melbourne Australia, and David who is working into Zimbabwe with a heart to see the Nation restored.

Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim

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Photo of Dr Phil Lewis

Dr Phil Lewis

The speech “Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim” was given by Dr Phil Lewis, who is a Lecturer in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, and also involved in Bradford Churches for Dialogue & Diversity.

This was the first speech at the MCSCI Conference in January 2016.

Listen to this speech

This is a recording of the speech, which has been edited for clarity and to remove questions (which could not be heard over the microphone).

Notes

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Abstract: Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim

Dr Lewis writes:

When Jews in the 19th century Europe were allowed to access mainstream culture, the exposure of traditional Judaism with modernity generated what Lord Sacks has dubbed ‘the birth of the adjectival Jew’, a proliferation of Jewish ‘denominations’ which were often unable to maintain a dialogue across their deepening differences. Arguably, something similar is beginning to happen across Muslim communities in the UK.
First there is evidence of increasing experimentation within and across all three generations of Muslims in Britain. Let us take one example from each generation. First, Ziauddin Sardar’s pioneering journal, Critical Muslim evidences a self-criticism hardly imaginable ten years ago. Then, the call for the development of a mosque with all women governance in Bradford, as well as a centre for excellence for Muslim women; and thirdly, the emergence of a new ‘Muslim cool’ in the third generation, for example among Bengali youngsters in Tower Hamlets.
In reaction to such engagement, there is a measure of entrenchment and opposition both within ‘traditional Islam’ – especially the Deobandis and Salafis [the fastest growing movement in the UK] – as well as the growing attraction for a significant minority of extremist movements.
These changes can also be formulated as the shift from Islam being a ‘diaspora’ religion to one which is increasingly engaging wider British society, e.g. what counts as ‘Muslim politics’ can vary from ‘ethnic politics’ with a religious veneer [Bradford and Tower Hamlets] to a new pragmatism where Muslim communities are ethnically diverse as in Newham and Hackney.
In short, there is a new self-criticism emerging among Muslim organizations, activists and academics, informed by the social sciences. Also a readiness to acknowledge major social and religious challenges facing Islam and Muslim communities in the UK.

When can I hear him?

Dr Lewis is expected to bring the conference’s first speech, “Made in Britain – the birth of the adjectival Muslim”, on Thursday 7th January 2016 at approximately 11:15am. Delegates (including day visitors) are asked to arrive no later than 10:30am to allow time for registration.

Please note that all times are given as-planned in good faith, but the schedule may be amended without notice if required.

Who is he?

Dr Philip Lewis’s interest in Islam and Inter-Religious/Inter-Cultural  relations began more than thirty years ago when he spent  six years as a CMS Missionary at the ecumencial Christian Study Centre in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He has been advising Anglican bishops of Bradford on inter-faith relations for more than a quarter of a century. He has just retired from the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University where he lectured  on ‘Islam in the West: the challenge to co-existence’ & ‘Religions, conflict and peacemaking in a post-secular world’. He sits on a number of national commissions and is one of the scholar consultants to the national Christian Muslim Forum set up in 2006 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At present he  is  a Visiting Fellow at York St John University and is a consultant on Islam and Christian-Muslim relations to the Bishop of Leeds.

Publications

 

The following selection of his publications give an idea of the range of his interests:

 

  • 2006, “Imams, ulema and Sufis: providers of bridging social capital for British Pakistanis?”, Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 15:3, pp 273-287.
  • 2007, Young, Muslim and British: for Continuum, London.
  • 2009, “For the Peace of the City: Bradford – a case-study in developing inter-community & inter-religious relations” in Stephen B. Goodwin (ed) World Christianity in Muslim Encounter, Continuum, London.
  • 2011, J.Birt & P.Lewis, “The Pattern of Islamic Reform in Britain: the Deobandis between intra-Muslim sectarianism and engagement with wider society” in S. Allievi and M. van Bruinessen (eds) Producing Islamic Knowledge, Transmission and dissemination in Western Europe, Routledge, London.
  • 2011’The religious formation and social roles of Imams serving the Pakistani diaspora in the UK’ in Marta Bolognani and Stepen M. Lyon (edss) Pakistan and Its Diaspora, Multidisciplinary Approaches, PalgraveMacmillan.
  • 2015 [forthcoming] ‘The Civic, religious and political incorporation of British Muslims and the Role of the Anglican Church: whose incorporation, which Islam?’ The Journal of Anglican Studies.