Muslim-Catholic dialogue at DePaul University to focus on sub-Saharan Africa

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Muslim and Catholic leaders engaged in interfaith dialogue will be on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus Nov. 12 to discuss theological resources for peace in sub-Saharan Africa. (Image by Anna Kreutz)
CHICAGO — Muslim and Catholic leaders engaged in interfaith dialogue will be on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus Nov. 12 to discuss theological resources for peace in sub-Saharan Africa.

They also will provide insight on practical, on-the-ground strategies they have found effective in regions of the world where this type of dialogue can mean the difference between life and death.

The speakers include Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria and Babacar Mbengue, adjunct faculty at DePaul University, teaching history and Islamic World Studies. The Rev. Aniedi Okure, OP, who is the executive director of the Washington D.C. based Africa Faith & Justice Network, will moderate the panel.

The Most Rev. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama was ordained a Catholic priest in 1981. He worked in several parishes in Nigeria’s Yola Diocese and in 1995 became the first bishop of the Diocese of Jalingo, the capital city of his home state of Taraba. In 2000, he was installed as the archbishop of Jos, capital of Plateau State in Nigeria. In addition to his role as archbishop, he is the founder of the Dialogue, Reconciliation, and Peace Centre and also serves as the vice president of the Regional Episcopal Conferences of West Africa and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria. The archbishop is also a founding member of Nigeria’s InterFaith Activity & Partnership for Peace, which provides a credible and trusted platform for dialogue between people of different faiths. Kaigama holds doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Among his writings is a compilation of some of his peace efforts entitled “Peace, Not War: A Decade of Interventions in the Plateau State Crises.”

Babacar Mbengue teaches Islamic studies and history at DePaul University. He also teaches Islam and politics and international relations at Loyola University in Chicago. Having grown up Muslim in his native Senegal, Mbengue is a product of Muslim-Catholic dialogue in Africa. His early education and training was in Catholic institutions. Mbengue received a doctorate in Arabic and Islamic studies, graduating with distinction from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, and has earned degrees from various institutions including Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris and Cambridge University. He was a Fulbright scholar with residence at Loyola University in Chicago. Mbengue’s research include Islam in Africa, Islamic banking and finance, Islamic law of contract, Islam and politics, world history, and international relations.

The presentation begins at 6 p.m. It is preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Center, Room 314B, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave. More information is online at http://go.depaul.edu/dialogue, or at 773-325-4158.

The Nov. 12 event is the first of a three-part series titled “Muslim-Catholic Dialogue: Prospects, Possibilities and Challenges,” which is organized by DePaul’s Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology. Other dialogues are scheduled for Feb. 19, with a focus on the Middle East, and for May 5, with a focus on the Philippines.

Cosponsors of the Muslim-Catholic Dialogue series include the Downtown Islamic Center and the following units from DePaul University: Center for Religion, Culture and Community; Islamic World Studies Program; Office of Religious Diversity; and Department of Catholic Studies.

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Media Contact:
Jon Cecero​
312-362-7640