The Church & Islam in Africa
Our annual Middle East Conference event seeks to breathe new life into our Evangelical churches' witness to Muslim communities globally. It is in search for greater faithfulness to God's mission through life, work and speech, that ABTS' Institute of Middle East Studies is organizing its eighth Middle East Conference in 2011, seeking lessons from across geographical, cultural, social, & religious boundaries.
Over eighty percent of the world's 1.5 billion or so Muslim population today is found outside the Arabic-speaking world. Yet when we think about Islam, we still tend to associate it only with the Arab world.
The manifestations of Islam in those regions where Arabic is the "sacred" language but not the vernacular spoken word are considerably different from those we find in the Arab world. In addition, in those African contexts where Islam is still a minority religion, the challenges faced by the Muslim populations are substantially different from those where Muslims are the majority. More importantly from our perspective, the challenges that such realities represent for the Church in these regions are also unique.
In today's global realities, how can the global Church learn from the diverse community contexts where Muslims and Christians have been living as neighbors for centuries? What can the Church both in the West and in the Arab world learn from the unique realities of the Church in Africa?
- Explore and evaluate the history of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa and the implication of that history on the position and influence of Islam and Muslims today in various African contexts.
- Examine and seek to understand various manifestations of Islam in the diverse realities of the sub-Saharan African contexts.
- Hear and Learn about various responses that the Church has adopted with regards to Islam in sub-Saharan Africa and consider the applicability of such responses in other contexts globally.
The Middle East Conference has drawn annually an average of 60-70 participants from across the world, with record participation at over 100 in 2010. The program is fully bilingual (English and Arabic) with simultaneous translation. It is educational, geared to an evangelical audience, missionally driven, and it models and promotes a dialogical approach by including, in specific parts of the program, the participation of Muslim students and religious and political leaders.