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Violence, Non-Violence and Religion

Violence, non-violence et religion

The Third Conference on Christian-Muslim Relations

Troisième conférence sur les relations chrétiens-musulmans

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Published on Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Bethlehem University, with its tradition of building better relations between Christians and Muslims, according to its values as a Catholic LaSallian Palestinian University, is proposing a conference on Violence and Religion (9-11 February 2011) as a chance to discuss this difficult topic of the relationship between religion and violence. Although the topic may seem vast and complex, the multidisci-plinary approach allows for a better understanding of the topic and an informative exchange among scholars and interested people from all faiths.


Religion has become an increasingly influential determinant in the relationships among individuals, groups, nations, states and cultures. Each of these individuals or groups has come to see religion depending upon the role it plays. We have been inundated with comments about religion that reflects a variety of roles and impact upon the individual or groups and upon the relationships. These comments show a variety of attitudes ranging from the extremely personal and or collective attachment to or detachment from religion.“Religion is the cause of violence; war of religions is a proof”; “Religion is abused by some followers, but this is not true religion”; “Religion is divine and calls for peace,extremists make it a cause of war”; “Religion is a combination of God’s fidelity towards human beings and human’s infidelity toward him”; “Religion is a private matter and should be kept away from the public sphere”. These attitudes and many other lead us to reflect upon the impact of religion in our own societies and cause us to ask a number of questions such as the following; What is the truth about religion and its relationship with the use of violence? How do we interpret the “difficult” texts calling for violence? Is there such a thing as a “Just War”? How is religion used by extremists? How is it used by social justice activists? How religiocan be supportive of a peaceful co-existence based on justice and respect?

The conference aims at exploring the relationship between religion and violence/non- violence using a multidisciplinary approach. Theology, Criticism or Interpretation of texts, History, Sociology, Philosophy, and Non-Violence, Theology and Practice, are some of the ways we will use to tackle the issue at hand.

The Holy Land and the Palestine/Israel conflict represent an appropriate context to the exploration of the relationship between religion and violence. Religion may be sometimes misused to justify political contentions. The Holy Land represents one clear example.  

Third International Conference Program (27 October 2010)

Violence, Nonviolence and Religion 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

9.00 – 10.00   Registration

10:00 – 10:30  Opening Session

  • Br. Peter Bray, Vice-Chancellor of Bethlehem University
  • H.B. Msgr. Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
  • H.E. Ibrahim Hawash, Minister of Religious Affairs, Palestinian Authority
  • Fr. Jamal Khader, Chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies, Bethlehem University

10:30 – 11:30  Opening Session

  • “Religion, Violence and Nonviolence in the Global Age” Dr. Jamal Nassar,  Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, California State University, San Bernardino, USA

11:30 – 12:00 Discussion

12:00 – 14:00   Lunch Break

14:00 – 15:30   Second Session: Reading and Interpreting Holy Texts


  • “Interpretation and Understanding of Difficult Texts in the Holy Koran”. Sheikh Abdel Majid Ata Amarneh, Mufti of Bethlehem, West Bank - Palestine
  • “Christian Responses to Islam: Violence and the Interpretation of Biblical Texts” Dr. Leo D. Lefebure, Professor of Theology, Theology Department, Georgetown University – USA

Respondent: Dr. Barakat Fawzi Kasrawi, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem

15:30 – 16:00  Discussion 

Thursday, February 10, 2011  

 9:00 – 10:30   Third Session: Violence and Religion

  •  “Conceptualizing a Christian Muslim Understanding of Spiritual Democracy as the Foundation for a Holistic Democracy” Larry Hufford, Professor of Political Science/ International Relations St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas – USA
  • “Knowledge of the Other in Plural Societies” Dr. Rusmir Mahmutehji, University Professor, President of the International Forum – Bosnia 

10:30 – 11:00  Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:30 Fourth Session: Religious Movements

  • “Islamic Political Movements and the Use of Violence” Dr. Iyad Barghouthi, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, West Bank - Palestine
  • “Difficult Texts: The Prophecies as used by Christian Zionists”  Fr. David Neuhaus, Professor of Biblical Studies, BU and Latin Seminary, Jerusalem

12:30 – 14:30  Lunch Break

14:30 – 16:00   Fifth Session: Michael Prior Memorial Lecture

  • "Liberation Theologies in Palestine: Contextual, Secular Humanist and Decolonizing Perspectives" Professor Nur Masalha, Professor of Religion and Politics, St. Mary’s University College, London – England

16:00 – 16:30   Discussion 

Friday, February 11, 2011

 9:00 – 11:00  Sixth Session: Nonviolence: Theory and Practice

  • “Violence and Religious Innovation in Islamic History” Dr. Nick Chatrah, Wadham College, Oxford - UK
  • "Religion, violence/ war, non-violence/ peace" Luis N. Rivera Pagán, Emeritus Professor of Ecumenics, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
  • “Islam: The Text and the Historicity of Violence Abel Karim Barghouthi, Birzeit University, West Bank - Palestine 

11:00 – 11:30  Discussion

10:50 – 11:30  Prayer hour, and lunch break

14:00 – 16:00   Final Panel : Promoting non-violence

  • “How Christians and Muslims in Norway have jointly approached the problem of violence in close relationships (with reference to a joint Christian-Muslim statement in 2009). Anne Hege Grung, Professor of Theology, Faculty of Theology, Oslo – Norway
  • “From Investment to Divestment:  Non-violent Religious Protest and the United Methodist Church in an Historical Context” Dr. Cheryl Riggs, Department of History, California State University, San Bernardino - USA
  • “Violence, Ideology and Religion” Fatma Kassem, Association for promoting higher education among Bedouin women in the Negev, Israel
  • “Kairos Palestine, a Non Violent Strategy?” Lucy Thalgieh, Wia’m Center, Bethlehem, West Bank - Palestine


  • Bethlehem University
    Bethlehem, Palestine


  • Friday, February 11, 2011
  • Thursday, February 10, 2011
  • Wednesday, February 09, 2011


  • Proche-Orient, religions, guerres, conflits, dialogue, paix, Palestine, Israel, histoire, sociologie, islam, christianisme, judaisme, théologie


  • Fr. Jamal khader, Chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies ~
    courriel : Jkhader [at] bethlehem [dot] edu
  • Pommeret Samuel (Research Assistant). ~
    courriel : samuel [dot] pommeret [at] bureau [dot] fiuc [dot] org

Information source

  • Samuel Pommeret
    courriel : samuel [dot] pommeret [at] bureau [dot] fiuc [dot] org


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Violence, Non-Violence and Religion », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, January 12, 2011, https://doi.org/10.58079/hl3

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