The University of Notre Dame will host an interfaith conversation between Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, and Daoud Casewit, president of American Islamic College, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 (Wednesday) in the Nanovic Hall Forum.
Titled “Commemorating the Sultan and the Saint: A Christian-Muslim Dialogue,” the gathering commemorates the 800th anniversary of a pivotal meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil of Egypt. St. Francis had traveled east with Crusade armies and crossed enemy lines in hopes of sharing Christianity peacefully. When St. Francis was brought to the sultan, the two initially tried to convert one another, but instead committed to listening and forging a friendship where both parties came away mutually challenged and enriched in their respective spiritualities.
“We are honored to host these two influential and respected religious leaders for an evening of enriching conversation," said R. Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of Notre Dame's Keough School of Global Affairs. "Seldom has the need for interreligious dialogue been more urgent, in a world fractured by mistrust and failure of nerve. Eight hundred years ago, during a time of fierce conflict between Catholics and Muslims, it took great courage for St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil to risk engaging one another in a mutual quest for peace. Building on that example, and on Pope Francis’ call for interfaith encounter, the evening will provide inspiration and reassurance that people of faith can find common ground and together promote human flourishing.”
Mahan Mirza, Islamic studies scholar in Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and executive director of the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion, will serve as moderator.
The event is free and open to the public.