JaMiA [Jesuits among Muslims in Asia] organized a web-conference on August 11th and 18th with the theme “The Ignatian Spirituality and Islamic Teachings/Muslim Communities in Asian Contexts”. Twelve papers that were presented by Jesuits and their collaborators in the web-conference, dealt with themes extending from Ecology to Christology, Prayer to Mysticism, and Spiritual Conversations that facilitate Inner Freedom. Many a bridge between Christianity and Islam, and Christian reflections on the Qur’an, were some of the other topics dealt in the miscellaneous papers. The papers thus focused on sharing and deepening of the Jesuit charism of Ignatian Spirituality in ‘deep conversations’ with Muslim communities. The papers explored the many adaptations that needed to be made in content, format, and language of the Spiritual Exercises, in relation with Muslim communities – especially in the context of UAPs, in engaging with the poor and youth.
Greg Soetomo SJ, secretary for JaMiA from the Asia Pacific Jesuit Conference, pointed out: “By compiling the articles and publishing them as a book, altogether, this is a long-term, methodical preparation for Dialogue with Muslims in Asia, and assisting and collaborating with other sectors (Jesuit Refugee Service, Jesuit Basic Educations, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Asian Theology Program, Youth Apostolate, Buddhist Studies and Dialogue, Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN)”.
Joseph Victor Edwin SJ, secretary for JaMiA for South Asian Conference, drawing from the paper presented, pointed out that “Discernment is an important tool for any serious engagement with people of other religions. We must use this tool very conscientiously for the academic pursuits, as well as in personal interactions with Muslim believers”. He further pointed out that both longstanding friendship with many Muslims and a deep awareness of being sent by the Church, for the ministry of dialogue with them, are essential for Christian-Muslim Dialogue.
The interviewer is the Director of Vidyajyoti Centre for Christian-Muslim Relation at Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi.