'Understanding Islam' Conferences to Amp Adventist Interfaith Outreach

May 4, 2009

Author: Ansel Oliver and Elizabeth Lechleitner

Source: Adventist News Network


Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders say two conferences exploring areas of common understanding between Adventists and Muslims will bolster the church's interfaith outreach.

Earlier this month, dozens of international church officials met in Grenada, Spain, to help erode misperceptions of Islam among Adventists and learn how focusing on mutual beliefs -- such as God, creation and healthy living -- can help members of both faiths build meaningful relationships.

"We're living in a world where we can't ignore other religions," said Ganoune Diop, director of the world church's Global Mission Study Centers. "The first courtesy is to know people on their terms."

Earlier this year, church leaders attended the first 'Understanding Islam' conference in Australia, home to 300,000 Muslims and a leading example of the faith's global presence and consistent growth. Worldwide, one in five persons follow Islam, making Adventist outreach to the Muslim world imperative, Diop said.

The 'Understanding Islam' conferences are part of the church's efforts to educate Adventists who may be unsure of how to relate to Muslims. Accurate information about the faith is vital before church leaders or laypeople attempt any outreach, Diop said.