Professor David Thomas, Birmingham University, delivered a lecture at the Markfield Institute on Thursday, 22 November 2018 on “Christians and Muslims: Perceptions of the Other”. His talk focused on the first 400 years after Prophet Muhammad (phuh). He highlighted that the Christians debated on the personality of Prophets Muhammad, argued whether he could be considered a prophet; the authenticity of the Quran and its moral teachings. The Muslims focused on criticising the trinity and the crucifixion story.

Professor David Thomas is a Professor of Christian-Muslim Relations and Nadir Dinshaw Professor of Inter-Religious Relations, at the University of Birmingham. He specialises in the history of religious thought in Islam, particularly in the medieval period, and in encounters between Christians and Muslims.

On Tuesday, 31 October 2017, Dr Tariq Mahmood, Lecturer at the Markfield Institute in Muslim Chaplaincy and a Muslim educator and theologian, gave an interesting and perceptive presentation at the Institute entitled: ‘Understanding and tackling the issue of extremism: A Spiritually based Diagnostic and Intervention Model.’

He offered a practical approach to address the causes of radicalisation and extremism which he is currently implementing within a high security prison setting. Innovative methods were discussed at length regarding the religiously based educational strategies he deploys to encourage prisoners to reconsider and change unhealthy mind-sets and interpretations of Islamic precepts. His work is yielding some success. A lively discussion ensued following Dr Mahmood’s presentation with many varied questions offered by the audience, who were highly receptive to engaging with his ideas.