News 02 April 2024

Print Matters: History of Interreligious Dialogue

Genti Kruja wrote a book on the history of interreligious dialogue. As he sees it, the call for peace is urgent and therefore dialogue is a necessity. Read here the interview we had with him in our Print Matters series.

About the book

“The history of interfaith dialogue originates elsewhere, both temporally and spatially, in different traditions. It stems from the depth of centuries and comes to our day as a necessity for global peace. Interfaith dialogue is not only desirable, but also indispensable. The process of interfaith dialogue does not mean a route to Christianization or Islamization; it is not a respective assimilation process, but it is a process that has several functions and the most important one is an ongoing communication between peoples, cultures and traditions. There are certainly many views and perceptions of this phenomenon and this work represents just one of the many possibilities.

This study, which stems from the lessons I have learned over years of research in the field of dialogue, began several years ago with the defence of my master’s thesis from a sociological perspective. After I published a book on the topic, and in the years following, I continued studies and research in the field, that is, dialogue between civilizations viewed from a sociological-philosophical point of view. I submitted my findings in my doctoral disertation at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Tirana.

After several years of research in the field of interreligious dialogue, I managed to enrich these studies with numerous archival data and decided to divide the first study into two books; the first one is what you have in your hands, “The History of Interreligious Dialogue” with chapters such as “Dialogue, a Global Necessity,” “Interreligious Dialogue in Islam: The Quran and the Prophetic Tradition,” and “Muslim-Christian Relations Throughout History.” The second book comes with the same title as the first edition, “Albanians Facing the Challenges of Interreligious Understanding” (Prizmi, 2008).

The revised research, now available in English, provides the opportunity to extend the issue both to the global and the Albanian level, enriching it with many examples from our history, but which, unfortunately, have not been extensively addressed in genuine historical or sociological studies.

Why is the topic relevant?

The topic is important because historically the world has needed dialogue. Unfortunately, human history is full of conflicts and wars. Even today in the 21st century, we have a war in the middle of Europe, we have conflicts in the Middle East, as well as in different parts of the globe. Therefore, the call for peace is urgent, dialogue is a necessity.

How can we encourage interreligious dialogue, both in Albania and other countries?

Interreligious dialogue can be encouraged through the education of the new generations with love and not with hatred, with dialogue and understanding, with tolerance and coexistence. In addition to the very important role of religious leaders, a very important role is also played by religious youth and women, who are working hard to promote interreligious dialogue. We all need each other and are members of the same human family.”


Thank you for the interview, Genti Kruja!

About the Author

Genti Kruja is Assoc. Professor of Sociology at Bedër University College, Secretary General of Inter-religious Council of Albania and President of ENIB, Religions for Peace, Europe. Besides, he is an expert of Religious Freedom at OSCE/ODIHR.

About the Book

The book is published in Albanian language and at present it is translated into English.