Bearing witness: Reframing Christian-Muslim encounter in light of the refugee crisis

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The refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016 and the subsequent theopolitical responses in Europe, North America, and elsewhere have been marked throughout by concerns about Islam and Muslims. The long and often uneasy relationship between Christianity and Islam has shaped European and North American responses to forced migration and has been an often unchallenged source for anti-migrant policies and rhetoric. In order for Christian theology and the church communities to offer constructive engagement within the current migration context, they must find new avenues to address and engage with Islam. This essay borrows from Jürgen Moltmann’s theopolitical interpretation of interreligious dialogue and his innovative rethinking of Christian theology in conversation with Judaism to propose that an analogous posture toward Islam be developed. It concludes by outlining the contours of a theology of witness/shahid that offers constructive possibilities for reframing Christian–Muslim debates to better attend to its theological, political, and ethical considerations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22- 35
JournalTheology Today
Issue number1
Early online date12 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Christian–Muslim relations
  • political theology
  • Moltmann
  • migration
  • interreligious studies
  • witness
  • refugees


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