Xiang Xinquan

Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe: Modern Challenges


I have always been interested in different issues related to religion. I am fascinated to understand how, over many centuries, Jews have adapted to various environments in different countries. I want to know what it is like to hold Christianity or Islam as an official religion as well as how this impacts on people's beliefs and attitudes towards certain ethnic and political issues.

I got to know about the online course Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe: Modern Challenges through a summer class and thought it could help me get to learn more about religion and culture.

People may not be familiar with the Muslim minority in China or have little knowledge about China's religion condition. Having lived somewhere not so religious or multicultural for almost twenty years, I was surprised when I started university in a metropolitan city in China and found that it was not uncommon to have classes with, or be roommates with, Muslim students. Coming from atotally different cultural and religious background how can they integrate into an environment where their religious practice is not recognised? How do they perceive their identity and culture in a religious way? With the integration and assimilation, some conflicts are inevitable in the first place. The governance over Muslim minority groups in China have also become a controversial issue in the last few years and the central government is still seeking measures to alleviate the conflicts among cultural groups. I learned that the first step is always to get to know the culture and religion of the "others" or learn to think from the others' perspective. I believe this online course has given me some insights into dealing with religious and cultural conflicts through cases in Europe.

I really appreciate the format and the structure of the online course. I was exposed to well-selected materials including essays, news reports and even some videos and music clips. I noticed that our instructors continue to update the materials, for example, one of the videos was a fairly recent one. The most enjoyable part is the opportunity to interact with other participants from different cultural backgrounds taking this course for various reasons. This is something that I could not get from the materials directly but from others' posts and comments in the forum, because they perceived things in different ways to me. Also, I was glad to see some of my comments in the forum aroused others' interest. I had to say the whole course are well-organised, smartly divided into several modules and the instructors always gave very thoughtful and helpful comments.

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