Interfaith consultation with the Muslim community

Bishop Kenneth Kearon and Canon Patrick Comerford with Dr Ali Selim and members of the Church of Ireland interfaith consultation on the steps of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland

Bishop Kenneth Kearon and Canon Patrick Comerford of the Rathkeale Group of Parishes took part in the Church of Ireland interfaith consultation on 12th September that focused on engagement with the Muslim community in Dublin.

The day was organised by the Interfaith Working Group of the Church of Ireland, chaired by Bishop Kearon.

The principal speaker was Dr Ali Selim, the resident theologian at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI), who has studied at the Irish School of Ecumenics and lectured in Trinity College Dublin, where Bishop Kearon is a former director.

Six dioceses in the Church of Ireland were represented at the consultation, which took place in both the Church of Ireland Theological Institute and the Islamic Centre, and included a visit to the mosque and school in Clonskeagh and lunch at the restaurant at the centre.

The previous interfaith consultation earlier this year on,  5th March 2019, included a seminar with Rabbi Zalman Lent and a visit to the Dublin Jewish Museum in Portobello, an area also known as Dublin’s ‘Little Jerusalem.’

Earlier in September, Bishop Kearon and Canon Comerford were guests at the unveiling of a plaque in the community centre in Templeglantine to recognise the work of Michael (Max) Arthur Macauliffe (1841-1913), who is still for his translation of Sikh scripture and history into English.

The attendance include representatives of the Sikh community in the Mid-West, church leaders, people involved in interfaith dialogue, local politicians and council officials, as well as members of the local community, including teachers and pupils from the school Max Macauliffe once attended in Templeglantine, near Newcastle West, Co Limerick,

Limerick City and County Council was approached by the Dublin Interfaith Forum last year about ways to honour the man from West Limerick. The commemorations were organised by representatives from the Sikh community, Limerick City and County Council and local historians. The speakers included the Indian ambassador, Sandep Kumar, and Dr Jasbir Puri of the Sikh Community.

‘These interfaith encounters are positive experiences of face-to-face dialogue and an opportunity for the Church of Ireland to engage with the cultural and religious diversity that is contributing positively to shaping Irish identity today,’ Canon Comerford said.

Inside the mosque in Clonskeagh during the interfaith consultation (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)