Mater Dei hosts major inter-faith conference

Mater Dei Institute in Dublin was the setting for the annual ‘A Common Word’ conference last weekend.

Between December 6 and 7 scholars from across the world and drawn from the three Abrahamic faiths, gathered for presentations and discussions from those faith perspectives, on both the Common Word document and the future of Muslim-Christian dialogue.

A Common Word was originally an open letter to the Christian Churches penned by 138 Muslim religious leaders, first prompted by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of the Kingdom of Jordan, and issued on October 13, 2007 – it was Prince Ghazi who later greeted then Pope Benedict and escorted him through the King Hussein Bin Talal mosque during the papal trip of 2009 to Jordan.

Common ground

Taking its title from the Koranic verse 3:64 which begins “O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you”, the document was from the outset intended to find common ground between Christianity and Islam based on the foundational principles of ‘love of God and love of neighbour’.


Since then, A Common Word has led to a raft of new publications on interfaith dialogue, the establishment of educational programmes and regular scholarly gatherings such as that held at Mater Dei.