31 August 2015

A Muslim woman and a Christian woman both in prayerDespite an enormous amount of media coverage that would suggest the contrary, there have been long periods in history where there was no conflict between Islam and Christianity - where people of different religions happily coexisted in multi-faith harmony. 

In an important public event presented by UniSA’s Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, UniSA’s International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding, and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture at Charles Sturt University, two eminent Muslim and Christian scholars will discuss just how Australia can protect and build a multi-cultural and multi-faith Australia. 

The free event, Can Christianity and Islam Co-Exist? A National Dialogue, will be held from 6.30 pm on Wednesday September 2 at the Allan Scott Auditorium, Hawke Building City West campus. 

Key presenters, Rev Professor James Haire AC, and prominent Indonesian Muslim scholar and public intellectual, Professor Azyumardi Azra CBE, will discuss Christian-Muslim relations in the Australian-Indonesian context, exploring how people of different faiths and cultures can grow together and develop understanding and respect. 

A professor of theology at Canberra’s Charles Sturt University (CSU) from 2003, and director of the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre (PACT), Prof Haire was ordained as a Christian minister in 1972. 

From 1972 to 1985, he was a missionary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, serving in Halmahera in the Molucca Islands and Sulawesi, Indonesia, where he worked as a lecturer and principal at Halmahera Theological College, and as Professor of Theology at the Christian University of Indonesia at Tomohon, Sulawesi. 

He was professor and head of the School of Theology at Griffith University in Brisbane, professor of New Testament Studies and principal at Trinity College, Brisbane, and dean and president of the Brisbane College of Theology between 1987 and 2003. He also served as Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. 

Prof Haire was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia for his leadership in ecumenical and interfaith relations in 2013.  

Professor Azyumardi Azra CBE is one of the most prominent liberal Muslim academic scholars and public intellectuals in Indonesia. 

He is Rector and Professor of History at the Univeritas Islam Negeri (UIN), Jakarta Indonesia. 

Internationally renowned for his research, he commands significant influence in the government, political spheres and intellectual community. 

He is also popular with the public through his regular column on religious issues appearing in the Muslim affiliated newspaper, Republika.  

He is a prolific writer and a member of the advisory boards of a number of international organizations such as UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). 

Currently, he is the Director of Graduate School, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta

In 2010, he received the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire, an honorary order from the United Kingdom. 

Director of UniSA’s Hawke Centre, Jacinta Thompson says the event will provide a rare opportunity to listen to some of the top thinkers on the issues surrounding the peaceful and productive coexistence of Islamic and Christian communities. 

“The issues could not be more topical and the speakers we are presenting could not be better equipped to consider this topic,” she says. 

“This will be an inspiring and insightful event and one the Hawke Centre is delighted to present.” 

Bookings can be made online. 

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office +61 883020966 mob 0418823673 email michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au




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