Christianity and Islam: Between Love, Law, and Secularity. 12-13th October 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Magdalen Lambkin & Anthony Allison/ University of Glasgow
contact email: 

Abstracts due: 6th August 2010

The Centre for the Study of Islam and the Centre for Inter-Faith Studies at the University of Glasgow invite contributions to a student-led symposium that will explore the themes of love, law, and secularity in relation to Islam and Christianity. This symposium aims to draw together researchers from a variety of disciplines to consider:

* the relationship, if any, between love and law in Islam and Christianity respectively;
* the potential for constructive dialogue between the traditions concerning these themes;
* how the relationship, if any, between love and law as understood by Christians and Muslims influences how their faith traditions engage with 'secular' society;
* to what extent do, can, or should 'secular' legal frameworks accommodate Christian and Muslim concerns in this regard?


The symposium follows the groundbreaking global initiative A Common Word (2007), which emphasised love of God and love of neighbour as a basis for cooperation between Christians and Muslims. Since then dialogue concerning these themes has flourished yet further dialogue is required. In Islam love of God and neighbour tends to be largely actualised and practised through legal traditions, a reality which has so far been under-recognised in public discourse. For, as Tariq Ramadan (2005) has commented " the West...the idea of sharia calls up all the darkest images of Islam...," a sentiment evident in the public response to Archbishop Rowan Williams' comments concerning the potential implementation of certain segments of shari'a law in Britain (2008).

The symposium

This symposium seeks to take the next step in the global Christian-Muslim discourse by questioning this response. Why is 'the West' so ready to engage with Islam in terms of love but seemingly repulsed by law? What relationship, if any, exists between love and law in these two traditions and what potential is there for a more critical discussion of these themes between Christians and Muslims? In examining the possibilities of Christian-Muslim dialogue on love and law, we wish also to explore the context in which inter-religious relationships are actualised in Western Europe – i.e. within 'secular' legal frameworks. To what extent are Western legal systems shaped by Christianity? Could these 'secular' legal frameworks accommodate aspects of shari'a? Is there any common-ground between Christian, Muslim and 'secular' approaches to law? What moral basis/grounding, if any, should state legal systems adhere to? Does, should or can 'love of God' or 'love of neighbour' have any place in religious or 'secular' law? If so, how?

The symposium will commence on the afternoon of the 12th October with a panel discussion between Professor of Legal Theory, Emilios Christodoulidis (University of Glasgow), expert in Canon Law, Dr Helen Costigane SHCJ (Heythrop College), and scholar of Islamic legal ethics Sheikh Ruzwan Mohammed (AbuZahra Foundation) on the subject of "Notions of the 'Common Good' in Religious and Civil Legal Frameworks." Participants are welcome from the afternoon of the 11th October when they will have the unique opportunity to attend the closing sessions of an international expert colloquium on the topic of Love and Law in Christianity and Islam, featuring world renowned scholars Miroslav Volf (Yale), Joseph Lumbard (Brandeis), Reza Kazemi (Institute of Ismaili Studies), Karel-Josef Kuschel (Tuebingen), Ian Markham (Virginia), Mona Siddiqui (Glasgow) and Werner Jeanrond (Glasgow). There will also be an opportunity to meet these distinguished scholars in an informal setting.

This innovative research area directly and concretely concerns the Christian-Muslim and 'Religious-Secular' discourse. We are looking for papers on the themes of love and/ or law from within, but not limited to, the following disciplines:

* Theology and Religious Studies
* Islamic law
* Law and legal theory
* Moral Philosophy
* Anthropology and Sociology
* Public policy and decision making

Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Abstracts, of no more than 300 words, should be sent to Anthony Allison or Magdalen Lambkin at by August 6th 2010.

Your abstract should be submitted along with:

* Your name and email address
* Your institution, department/subject area and year of study/position
* Title of the proposed paper
* Three to five keywords indicating subject of your paper.

We intend to publish a selection of the papers in an edited collection.

We look forward to hearing from you.