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Piyali Mitra

Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe: Modern Challenges

Interrreligious Understanding Today

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Jaco Cilliers commented, "Many of the traditional approaches to interfaith dialogue have assumed that it can be successful only if agreements are reached about amorphous concepts and themes that various traditions may have in common." - These kinds of approaches presume that participants of the dialogue have weakened elements of their own faith and this is very much detrimental in healthy dialogue and understanding of interfaith. And it is here that Woolf Institute online courses, like Interreligious Understanding Today and Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe: Modern Challenges, have an important role to play. Enrolling myself in these two courses helped me first understand the complexity of diversities. These courses taught me how to develop mutual respect and, above all, they taught me how hard and fast assumptions should be shattered for any healthy dialogue. They inculcated in me that each participant must define oneself and, conversely, the interpreted must find herself as one own-self in the interpretation.

I must thank my mentor, tutors of these courses and not to forget my co-participants whose invaluable opinions and academic contributions opened up some of the thought blockades I have been experiencing prior to enrolling in these courses. They, in a way, taught me how one needs to "step back" in order to "step up". I would always cherish the opportunity that provided me a discussion platform where we could voice our opinions demonstrating respect for others while agreeing or opposing others' beliefs.

Express my sincerest gratitude to every team member of the Woolf Institute for allowing me the room to take a breath and forge ahead with my viewpoints as a PhD research scholar of the Philosophy Department of the University of Calcutta, India and as a Visiting scholar of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington DC, USA.



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