Dialogue in Islam Course – Week 3: The Historical Basis for Dialogue

Dr Omer Sener

Research Fellow, Dialogue Society London Branch

Where: Mevlana Rumi Mosque, 337 Fore Street, Edmonton, London N9 0NU

Questions to be explored

  • The significance of examples from Islamic history?
  • Are there any events or treaties from Muslim history that lend support to dialogue?
  • Did Muslims ever force others to convert to Islam in the past?
  • Under the dhimma treaty system, what were the rights of non-Muslim dhimmis?
  • Is the dhimma system a way of making Muslims superior to non-Muslims? Is it applicable today?
  • How can divergent practices in Islamic history be reconciled?

What is it?

  • A four-session course exploring the theological and historical justification for dialogue in Islam.
  • Accessible to Muslims and non-Muslims, the course content is interactive and follows a question and answer format ensuring a lively and to-the-point format.
  • The course demonstrates the case for interfaith and intercultural dialogue in Islam through reference to scripture, Sunnah and Islamic interpretive methodology. It directly address elements of Islamic sources and traditional interpretation which are sometimes taken as contradicting the case for dialogue and even exploited by violent extremists.

Course Objectives

  • To give a clear, accessible and Islamically sound introduction to what the Qur’an and Sunnah have to say about dialogue and intercultural/interfaith relations.
  • To demonstrate how Islamic interpretive methodology refutes divisive and extremist misinterpretations of contentious passages in the Islamic sources, giving participants confidence to reject and challenge those misinterpretations on a sound Islamic basis.
  • To offer an Islamically-anchored positive and proactive narrative.
  • To demonstrate that good intercultural and interfaith relations and dialogue are integral to the religion of Islam.

Learning Objectives

  • By the end of the course, participants will be able to
  • Identify the core theological issues in relation to Muslim engagement with the ‘other’.
  • Deconstruct the arguments made for and against dialogue in Islam
  • Understand the foundational case for dialogue in Islam.
  • Understand the interpretive methodology that necessitates dialogue in Islam.


  • A four-session course. Each session consists of two 45minute lessons.
  • The lesson objectives are explained at the beginning of each lesson with questions and comments encouraged from participants.


  • Young British Muslims
  • Muslim community leaders and organisations in a position to provide advice and guidance to ordinary Muslims.
  • Mosques, Muslim community centres, youth clubs, schools and other outlets with a significant number of Muslim beneficiaries
  • Non-Muslims, including social workers, teachers, council members, liaison officers, academics and relevant stakeholders and policy makers who wish to understand more about what the Islamic sources say about intercultural/interfaith relations, diversity and dialogue.