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Faiths together? Muslim-christian co-working on a publicly funded project in beeston Hill, South Leeds

By Melanie Jane Prideaux


The academic study of inter-faith dialogue has been dominated by textual, theological, philosophical and historical studies such as those of John Hick and Gavin D'Costa. In this thesis a new approach is taken, suggested by the work of Jacques Waardenburg and Hugh Goddard, which looks at the reality of dialogue in a religiously diverse\ud neighbourhood in the UK. The primary focus is dialogue between Muslims and Christians, and particularly the relationship between what Gerd Baumann terms the\ud `demotic' discourse of local residents, and the `dominant' discourse of those who have leadership roles, either locally or nationally, in the community.\ud \ud `Faith Together in Leeds 11' is a unique project in Beeston Hill, Leeds, UK, where Muslim, Christian and secular partners have worked together to address the needs of the\ud neighbourhood. Having considered the national, local and religious context of this co-working, and the methodological and theoretical context of the research, the thesis then discusses the main issues arising from the fieldwork. The nature of `identity' and `community' in dialogue between Muslims and Christians, the role of religion in the public square, and the relationship between formal and informal models and experiences of inter-faith dialogue, are discussed as both theoretical and practical\ud concerns.\ud \ud The conclusions of this thesis are surprisingly varied, reflecting as they do the range of analytical methods and approaches required, but also the complexity of the small scale and the local. However, one conclusion is found to be relevant throughout: that in Beeston Hill individual attitudes and beliefs rest as much, if not more, on demotic\ud experience as on dominant teachings. This challenges dominant theological discourses of inter-faith dialogue, and is of significance for policy agendas which seek to capitalise on the resources of faith communities

Publisher: School of Theology & Religious Studies (Leeds)
Year: 2008
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