MENA Islam Module Residency
Earlier this year, our Master of Religion (MRel) students took part in lectures and group discussions on campus as part of the MENA Islam module residency. They also met with experts and practitioners and gained insight into Muslim culture in Lebanon and the Arab world. Because our students are already involved in ministry, they brought many of their rich experiences to the classroom. Emile from Lebanon is one of our MRel students. He is the Chief of Operations at Together for the Family Lebanon and has been serving Muslim Syrian refugees in Lebanon since 2016. He shared:
Attending the MRel residency was an eye-opening experience that gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge of different approaches to Islam from a positive, kerygmatic, and reconciliatory stance as a Christian. I am grateful to have had the chance to meet students from around the world and to learn about the various ministry experiences they are part of.
MENA Islam is co-taught by Daniel Brown and Martin Accad. Daniel serves as the director of the Institute for the Study of Religion in the Middle East and author of the main textbook for this module, A New Introduction to Islam. Its Arabic translation was recently published by Dar Manhal Al Hayat in partnership with ABTS. The module focusses on providing a strong theoretical understanding of Islam as well as developing the applied skills needed to work in the region and among MENA communities worldwide. Daniel shared:
I have found that what Christians often expect from programs on Islam is basic, practical, step-by-step training for ministry. What we offer in this module is a much bigger picture. We try to give students a bigger framework and to challenge some basic assumptions about the relationship between Christianity and Islam. This will then impact how they think about their own context and history. It’s a big picture module and that’s what I like about it. When we are exposed to challenging ideas, we have the opportunity to process them ourselves and make them relevant in our own contexts.
As our MRel students develop a coherent knowledge of Islam and Islamic texts, we pray that they find practical approaches to Christian-Muslim relations as well as peacemaking strategies for conflict transformation in each of their unique ministries.