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Dalia Mogahed, one of the foremost researchers and experts on Islam in the U.S., will share insights into the attitudes, beliefs, and opinions of American Muslims, including opinions on complex issues such as gun control, abortion, and cyberbullying.
The Justice Leaders Fellowship is a 10-month intensive program for local community, nonprofit, and civic leaders to study and dialogue together. The 2022-2023 cohort will focus on economic justice. A new cohort starts in September 2022.
Over five days of mutual learning, challenging discussion, and blossoming friendships, a group of more than two dozen emerging Muslim and Christian religious leaders recently engaged in an innovative intensive course in interreligious dialogue. The Emerging Religious Leaders (ERL) course, held in early June on the campus of Virginia Theological Seminary, is a groundbreaking program…
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore invited the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies to offer our insights on interreligious dialogue and our efforts to help build an interreligious society. In March 2022, ICJS held an online listening session attended by Bishop Denis J. Madden of Baltimore, who is also an ICJS board member.…
BALTIMORE—The Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS) has named Francis X. Clooney, S.J., a theologian at the Harvard Divinity School and a leader in the field of comparative theology and interreligious studies, as the inaugural Silber-Obrecht Lecturer. The Silber-Obrecht Lecture, the first endowed lectureship in the emerging field of interreligious and interfaith studies,…
In July ICJS Jewish Scholar Ben Sax co-led Faiths & Ferocity, the inaugural ICJS Faculty Seminar with Kate Temoney, associate professor in the Department of Religion at Montclair State University. The seminar brought together scholars working in the fields of interreligious studies or genocide studies in the ICJS Library for an intensive week of study…
I am proud of my Judaism, but I wear it quietly. In the USA I have had years of developing an understanding of my identity as a minority outsider—years of growing up with the view that religious belief belongs in the private sphere, shared gently and carefully among those of one’s own faith. I am…
Interacting and engaging with peers and colleagues from other faiths has opened my eyes to a few issues. I realized that prejudice and bias exist not only towards Muslims, but also other groups. In many situations it manifests its ugly face as an outcome of unintentional ignorance and cultural baggage, influenced by media and societal…
I surround myself with creative people, but I usually do not consider myself to be creative. So I was shocked that I volunteered to work one-on-one with a storyteller to tell my Teachers Fellowship cohort a story at our Fellowship retreat. I am a preacher and a teacher, but I have never done something like…
From Supreme Court rulings to January 6th hearings, we have had a bright spotlight on the political and social polarization in our country. Emotions are raw and discussions quickly turn into arguments. Many of us are asking ourselves, as people of faith who believe in an interreligious society where religious difference becomes a powerful force for…
Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar
Heather Miller Rubens is the Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS). She is responsible for advancing the organization’s vision to build an interreligious society in which dialogue replaces division, friendship overcomes fear, and education eradicates ignorance. Rubens is an experienced teacher, public speaker, facilitator, and practitioner of interreligious learning and dialogue. She develops educational initiatives that foster interreligious learning and conversation for the public in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and online. Rubens is a member of the Committee on Ethics, Religion and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a board member of the Washington Theological Consortium, and an invited member of the Christian Scholars Group. She has served in leadership positions with the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations and the Catholic Theological Society of America. She is a member of the 2019 Class of The Baltimore Leadership. Rubens holds degrees from Georgetown University (B.A.), the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (G.Dip.), and the University of Chicago (A.M. and Ph.D.). In her research and writing Rubens creatively focuses on the theoretical, theological, ethical, and political implications of affirming religious diversity and building an interreligious society.
Matthew D. Taylor, Ph.D., is the Protestant Scholar at ICJS, where he specializes in Muslim-Christian dialogue, Christian theology and interreligious engagement, religious politics in the U.S., and American Islam. Prior to coming to ICJS, Taylor served on the faculty of Georgetown University and The George Washington University, and he is currently a faculty member in the Theology Department at Loyola University Maryland. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies, and the Company of Teachers of the Reformed Institute of Metropolitan Washington. Taylor holds a Ph.D. in Religious Pluralism and Muslim-Christian Relations from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. His forthcoming book, American Scripturalism: The Parallel Lives of Salafi Muslims and Evangelical Christians (2022), offers an introduction to the oft-misunderstood Salafi movement in the U.S. by way of comparison with American Evangelicalism.
Ben Sax is the Jewish Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, Jewish Studies in Baltimore. He is an experienced professor, university administrator, scholar, award-winning teacher, public speaker, and practitioner and facilitator of interreligious dialogue. Before arriving at the ICJS, Ben was director of the Malcolm and Diane Rosenberg Program in Judaic Studies and the founding faculty principal at the West Ambler Johnston Residential College at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Sax holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (B.A., Social Thought and Political Economy), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (M.A., Jewish Thought), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D., History of Judaism). He also studied at Middlebury College’s Summer Language School, where he received a Zertifikat ÖSD Mittelstufe, M.D. in German Language and Culture. Ben has published on topics relating to Jewish philosophy, German-Jewish history and culture, Jewish-Christian relations, and interreligious dialogue. Ben’s most recent research project, a book entitled The Life of Quotation in Modern Jewish Thought will be published next year.
For access to Benjamin Sax’s publications, please visit his Academia.edu webpage.
Zeyneb Sayilgan, Ph.D., is the Muslim Scholar at ICJS, where her research centers around Islamic theology and spirituality, Christian-Muslim relations, and the intersection of religion and migration. Her personal experience of growing up in Germany as a child of Kurdish Muslim immigrants from Turkey informs her academic work and engagement in interreligious learning. Sayilgan is an affiliated faculty at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria and also a Fellow Emerita in Peace and Reconciliation at its Center for Anglican Communion Studies. She also taught at The Catholic University of America and The Washington Theological Consortium. From 2010-2014, Sayilgan was appointed as a residential chaplain at Georgetown University where she advised students from all and no faith backgrounds. She has a Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies from Georgetown University, a Master’s degree from Hartford Seminary in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, and a B.A/M.A. in Islamic Studies and Public Law from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. She co-edited The Companion to Said Nursi Studies (2018) and Faithful Neighbors: Christian-Muslim Vision & Practice (2016). In 2019, Sayilgan was awarded the First Book Grant for Scholars of Color by the Louisville Institute. Her current work is a book, Islam and Immigration: Theological Insights from the Qur’an, which articulates a religious discourse on immigration based on Islam’s Holy Scripture.
Program Director, Teachers
Christine Gallagher has more than a decade of teaching and ministry experience. Most recently, she was the director of mission and ministry at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore where she taught world religions and social justice courses, planned the school’s religious and spiritual programming, and served on a number of committees to help further reflection on how the school lives its mission. She grew up in Philadelphia, studied American Studies at Georgetown University, and received M.A.’s in Theology and History at Villanova University. Christine served on the planning committee for the Teachers’ Fellowship and was a member of the first cohort.
Program Director, Congregational Leaders
Alisha Tatem has a B.A. in Social Work from Messiah College and is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, where she earned both her M.Div. and a Th.D. in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Most recently Alisha served as an Associate Chaplain at a continuing care retirement community in Pennsylvania. She has more than 15 years of experience working and providing leadership in nonprofit and congregational settings. She is passionate about building bridges across diverse communities and finding creative ways to foster relationships.
Program Director, Justice Leaders
Fatimah Fanusie is a historian of 19th- and 20th-century American religion whose research is an evolving reappraisal of the study of African American Islam, the modern Civil Rights Movement and Islam in the West. She is also a lecturer in the Islamic Studies department at Johns Hopkins University and a Historian Consultant for the Howard Thurman Historical home in Daytona Beach, Florida. She received her B.A. in History and Arabic from Lincoln University, her M.A. in American History from Tufts University, and her Ph.D. in American History from Howard University.
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High school teachers serve as unintentional interreligious leaders, as they navigate classrooms with diverse students and teach history, politics/government, literature, art, religious studies,and language that regularly intersects with religion. ICJS equips secondary teachers to meet the challenge to transform classrooms into places of interreligious literacy and understanding.
How can our religious diversity become an asset that anchors our shared civic life? ICJS offers public events plus a cohort-based study year for nonprofit and community leaders interested in considering how Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions can enrich their justice-making work.
Religious leaders from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim congregations can rely on ICJS to help them build their congregation’s capacity to disarm religious bias and bigotry and to build resilient networks across diverse houses of worship.
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