Murshad Habib

Bridging the Great Divide: the Jewish-Muslim Encounter


Standing at the top of Mount Sinai, the sun rising behind me, I felt the spirit of daily-refined hope, inspiring me. This was the first of many visits to this region; every step on the mountain reminding me of the numerous issues the region is facing currently. A few yards to the right stands a church; a few yards to the left a mosque; furher in the distance lies Israel and to the other side, Egypt.

I pondered on how this strip of land could divide civilisations so politically and religiously divergent. The true connotation behind these two concepts should be communal peace and global harmony, whereas they have caused much discord and divisions. Understanding this paradox is the initial task of anyone aspiring to embark on a path of learning and contributing in an environment of faith leadership.

Living in a multicultural society, I see the desire for harmony being threatened by ignorance and apprehension, which steer people along divergent paths. The online course, Bridging the Great Divide: the Jewish-Muslim Encounter is one which teaches of the various complexities in the encounter of different faiths, particularly Islam and Judaism in the broader spectrum. The opportunity to have studied this course has allowed me to converse directly with people and to evaluate political and cultural issues, both at home and globally, and to value people's beliefs and perspectives, through academic rigour and engagement with notable academics; enriching and furthering my understanding of legal systems, legislations and laws that affect Jews and Muslims, and how we can work together to offer better assistance not only to a specific community, but the greater body of mankind to which we all belong.

I am confident that others can learn many novel ideas and initiatives from this online course at the Woolf Institute due to its encouraging environment that the Institute offers its students to excel in. The religious world does not need saviours; rather, genuine leaders to not cry of the past but to smile of the future to come.

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