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Speakers’ Bureau

ICJS scholars and staff are available to provide lectures and presentations to organizations, congregations, and businesses. The expertise of ICJS speakers covers a wide range of topics. While popular topics are listed below, we are happy to discuss your particular needs. Simply submit a speaker request, and we will be in touch to talk through the details.
  • History of Jewish Thought
  • History of Christian Thought
  • History of Islamic Thought
  • Jewish-Christian Dialogue / Relations
  • Christian-Muslim Dialogue / Relations
  • Muslim-Jewish Dialogue / Relations
  • Theories and Practices of Interreligious Dialogue
  • Building Interreligious Literacy / Understanding
  • Engaging in Religious Pluralism
  • Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Religious Bigotry
  • Role of Religion in Society
  • Interreligious Understanding in Education
  • Interreligious Understanding in congregations
  • Interreligious Understanding in the Nonprofit / Civic Sector
  • Navigating Religious Difference in Your Workplace / Organization


Heather Miller Rubens is the Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS), where she leads in developing educational initiatives that foster interreligious learning for the public in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. The following question animate Rubens’ work in interreligious literacy: when, where, and how can religious communities understand an affinity between themselves, as well as constructively engage their differences?

In her research, Rubens explores how religious communities navigate political, legal, and cultural spaces, as well as how different religious communities relate to one another in particular contexts. Her current project focuses on the theoretical, theological, and ethical implications of building an interreligious city.

Rubens has been an adjunct professor at Lewis University, DePaul University, and St. Mary’s Seminary. She is a member of the Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She also serves on the Board of the Washington Theological Consortium.

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.).

  • Reading Noah Interreligiously
  • Religion & the US Supreme Court
  • Gods & Guns: Interpreting Contested Texts in Polarizing Times
  • “Toward an Interreligious City: A Case Study” in Interreligious/Interfaith Studies: Defining a New Field (2018)
  • “Rebellious Jews on the Edge of Empire: The Judeo-Irish Home Rule Association” in Irish Questions and Jewish Questions (2018)
  • “Something Has Gone Wrong: The JFS Case and Defining Jewish Identity in the Courtroom" (2014)
  • “Interreligious Dialogue in a Post-Nostra Aetate Church: The Tension between Mutuality and Evangelization” in Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church (2013)
  • A “Judeo-Christian” Myth of Disestablishment: The Legacy of McGowan v. Maryland (2012)




Prior to becoming to ICJS ' Muslim Scholar, Zeyneb Sayilgan served as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Islamic Theology and Religious Pluralism at Virginia Theological Seminary, and was the Senior Fellow in Peace and Reconciliation at the Seminary’s Center for Anglican Communion Studies. Sayilgan also served as a residential chaplain on Georgetown’s campus addressing the various needs of students from all backgrounds, and taught classes at The Catholic University of America.

Sayilgan was born and raised in Germany as the child of Kurdish immigrants from Turkey. Her personal experience with religious diversity and Muslim immigration informs her academic work. Her current research focuses on the intersection of religion and immigration, particularly in relation to Muslims living in the West. Passionate about Christian-Muslim engagement and Islamic spirituality, Sayilgan has led numerous tours to Turkey to explore interreligious dynamics on the ground.

Sayilgan holds degrees from Hartford Seminary (M.A.), Johannes Gutenberg University (M.A.), and Georgetown University (Ph.D.).

  • The Necessity of Interfaith Dialogue
  • A Muslim Vision for Interfaith Relations
  • The First Muslim Refugees in the Christian Kingdom of Abyssinia:
  • Implications for Christian-Muslim Relations Today
  • Christian-Muslim Relations Today
  • The Need for Christian-Muslim Dialogue: A Muslim Perspective
  • How Can Muslims and Unitarians Talk to Each Other?
  • Loving Our Neighbor
  • Religion in the Public Square
  • Introduction to Islam
  • Exploring Islam: Faith and Practice
  • Islam: Ideals and Realities
  • The Foundations of Islam
  • Basic Beliefs and Practices in Islam
  • Articles of Faith in Islam
  • Scripture and Authority in Islam
  • The Inner Meaning of the Hajj
  • Islam and the West
  • Faithful Neighbors: Christian-Muslim Vision & Practice
  • The Companion to Said Nursi Studies (co-editor)
  • Islam and Immigration: Theological Insights from the Qur’an (forthcoming)


ICJS Protestant Scholar Matthew D. Taylor describes himself as a "seminary-trained Mainline Protestant with an Evangelical-background who studied Islam at a Catholic University." His research and writing focus on the complicated relationships communities of Christians and Muslims form with their respective scriptures in the United States. His current book project American Scripturalism: The Parallel Lives of Salafi Muslims and Evangelical Christians, offers a sympathetic introduction to Salafism, a frequently misunderstood modern Muslim movement, which Taylor puts into conversation with his own Evangelical upbringing.

As an interfaith dialogue theorist and practitioner, Taylor is a frequent speaker at churches and other religious congregations and civic groups on Islamophobia, antisemitism, Muslim-Christian dialogue, Islam in the United States, and Protestant theology.

Taylor has served on the Religious Studies faculty of Georgetown University and the International Affairs faculty of George Washington University. He holds degrees from the University of California, Irvine (B.A.), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.A.), and Georgetown University (Ph.D.).

  • Protestants and Islam (3-part series or individual lectures)
    • Why the Protestant Reformers Published the Qurʾan
    • Does Islam Need a “Reformation”?
    • Building Bridges between Protestants and Muslims
  • The History and Complexities of Christian and Islamic Fundamentalism
  • What Christians Need to Know about Islam Today
  • Building Bridges in Muslim-Christian Dialogue
  • Evangelical Christians, U.S. Politics, and the State of Israel
  • The Advent and Judaism: Revisiting a Difficult History
  • White Supremacy, Christian Theology, and the Rising Violence Against Jews and Muslims
  • Mary in the Islamic Tradition: Memories from the Qurʾan
  • Facing the Bible Critically
    • Part 1: The Hebrew Bible and Recent Historical and Critical Scholarship
    • Part 2: The New Testament and Recent Historical and Critical Scholarship
  • Engaging Religious Diversity in the Classroom: Tools for Facilitating Interreligious Dialogue and Encounter
  • Christianity 101: Why Do We See So Much Diversity in Churches in the United States?