Who is My Neighbour?
Dr Joshua Ralston is Reader in Muslim-Christian Relations at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. He is Director and Co-founder of the Christian-Muslim Studies Network. His primary work is concerned with theological, legal-political, and scriptural encounters between Christians and Muslims across the centuries, with a particular focus on Protestant Christianity and Sunni Islam. He approaches these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective that draws on political theology, Islamic Studies, Christian theology, critical theory, migration studies, and comparative theology.
Prior to moving to Scotland, he was Assistant Professor of Theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Wake Forest University, before going on to study World Christianity at Edinburgh (MTh with distinction), divinity at Candler School of Theology (MDiv), and Christian Theology and Islamic Thought at Emory University (PhD supervised by Ian A. McFarland).
Dr Ralston is a regular contributor to public forums including ABC’s Religion and Ethics Portal, and is an editor in the theology and interreligious studies section of Syndicate Network, an online forum for scholarship in the humanities. He regularly speaks on themes of religion, secularism, Islam, and migration and is currently serving on the World Communion of Reformed Churches’ European Task Force on Migration. His recent public scholarship includes ‘The Same God, or the One God: On the Limitations and Implications of the Wheaton Affair‘ and ‘How Political Theologians Should (Not) Engage Islam‘.
Professor Mona Siddiqui is Professor in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh and Dean International, Middle East. She joined the University of Edinburgh’s Divinity school in December 2011 as the first Muslim to hold a Chair in Islamic and Interreligious Studies. She also holds the posts of Assistant Principal for Religion and Society and Dean international for the Middle-East at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to this, she worked at Glasgow University directing the Centre for the Study of Islam. Her research areas are primarily in the field of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and ethics and Christian-Muslim relations.
Professor Siddiqui is also well known internationally as a public intellectual and a speaker on issues around religion, ethics and public life. She is a regular commentator in the media, known especially for her appearances on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought for the Day. In June 2016, she became a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s award winning The Moral Maze. In 2012, she appeared as a guest on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and in July 2015, was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions. She chairs the BBC’s Religious Advisory Committee in Scotland and during 2016 served as chair of the Scotland ‘Stronger In’ pro Europe campaign.
In April 2016, she was invited by the Home Office to lead an independent review of shari`a councils in the UK; the report was published by the Home Office in February 2018. She served as an elected member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics and as a member of the British Medical Associations’ Medical Ethics Committee until June 2018. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, holds 6 honorary doctorates and an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of Scottish Architects for her contributions to public life. In 2011, she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to interfaith services. In 2014 she spoke on religion and politics at the World Economic Forum in Davos and in 2017 was listed in the Debretts top 500 list of the most influential people in the UK.
Her recent publications include 50 Ideas in Islam (Quercus, 2016), Muslim Christian Encounters 4 volumes, (Routledge, 2016) Hospitality in Islam: Welcoming in God’s Name (Yale UP, 2015), My Way: A Muslim Woman’s Journey (IB Tauris, 2014), Christians, Muslims and Jesus (Yale University Press, 2013) and The Good Muslim: Reflections on Classical Islamic Law and Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2012). She is currently writing a monograph on her Gifford lectures on the theme of human struggle. She currently holds research grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation and the Issachar Foundation. She has held visiting professorships at several Dutch and American universities including a Humanitas Professorship at Cambridge University in 2014. Currently she is Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey, British University in Dubai and Kings College, London.
Professor Hugh Goddard was an undergraduate in Oxford, where he studied Islamic History under Albert Hourani, and then took his doctorate from the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Birmingham, where his supervisor was David Kerr and he wrote his thesis on ‘Egyptian Muslim Perceptions of Christianity, 1945-1980’. He has worked and studied in the Middle East, in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, and has also undertaken a number of research visits to other regions of the Islamic World, including Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia and Central Asia, in order to investigate how relations between the world’s two largest religious communities work in different geographical and cultural contexts.
Before moving to Edinburgh in 2009, he worked in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in the University of Nottingham, where he served as Professor of Christian-Muslim Relations from 2004. In Edinburgh he served until 2017 as the Founding Director of The Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, and in this capacity contributed to the establishment of a number of initiatives in the field of Christian-Muslim Relations, including the Breaking Barriers Scriptural Reasoning Group. He is a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and serves as the Christian representative on the board of the Edinburgh Interfaith Association (EIFA).
He is the author of Christians and Muslims: From Double Standards to Mutual Understanding (London: Curzon, 1995), Muslim Perceptions of Christianity (London: Grey Seal, 1996), and A History of Christian-Muslim Relations (Edinburgh University Press and Chicago: New Amsterdam, 2000), as well as many articles on different aspects of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations.
David Kibble is a theology graduate of University of Edinburgh. After his retirement from a deputy headship at Huntington School in York, he has helped to develop interfaith work in his home city of Leeds. He is a Church of England Reader based at St George’s Church, where he holds the brief for interfaith activity. He also works as a volunteer chaplain at Ripon Cathedral.
He wrties on both sides of the Atlantic on both defence ethics and interfaith issues. Publications include two booklets in the Grove Ethics series: Engaging with the Israel / Palestine Issue: How Faith Communities Have Adopted an Interfaith Approach and Interrogational Torture: Can Saving Lives Justify Its Use?
Qari Asim is a law graduate of Leeds University who works as a property lawyer for DLA Piper in the city. He is Senior Imam at the Makkah Mosque, Chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board and Senior Editor of Imams Online.
He is committed to working with other faiths in his home city and writes prolifically on interfaith and community issues – his Op-Eds appear feequently in the Yorkshire Post. He was awarded the MBE (2012) and received an honorary doctorate from Leeds Beckett University (2014) for his interfaith and community work.