Human Struggle: Christian and Muslim Perspectives

Please join us for the biennial Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture as we welcome Dr. Mona Siddiqui, known internationally as a public intellectual and a speaker on issues around religion, ethics, and public life.

Suffering and struggle give meaning to the human condition and are a constant theme in philosophy, theology and psychology. Drawing upon her recent book, Human Struggle: Christian and Muslim Perspectives, Dr. Siddiqui compares how two prominent theologians, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Sayyid Qutb, wrestled with their faith when they experienced a deep personal struggle.

The Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture is named after the first director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. It brings a distinguished scholar to campus for a public presentation on Islam or Christian-Muslim relations to promote interreligious understanding and mutual respect in the local, national and world communities.

For those who would like to earn 3 graduate credits, Dr. Siddiqui will be team-teaching the course Suffering and Struggle with Dr. David D. Grafton. Visit this link to learn more.

Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at or 860-509-9519 at least 14 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event.

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About the Speaker

Mona Siddiqui is Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies, Assistant Principal for Religion and Society and Dean international for the Middle-East at the University of Edinburgh.  Her research areas are primarily in the field of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and ethics and Christian-Muslim relations. Her most recent publications include Hospitality in Islam: Welcoming in God’s Name (Yale UP, 2015), Human Struggle: Christian and Muslim Perspectives, (Cambridge UP 2021) She has held numerous international research grants and her most recent award is from the Issachar Fund on the theme of Gratitude in Christian and Islamic thought; in 2021 she launches a new project on Loyalty and Fidelity.

Professor Siddiqui is also well known internationally as a public intellectual and a speaker on issues around religion, ethics and public life. She is a regular commentator in the media, known especially for her appearances on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought for the Day and The Moral Maze. She chairs the BBC’s Religious Advisory Committee in Scotland and during 2016 served as chair of the Scotland “Stronger In” pro-Europe campaign.  In April 2016, she was invited by the Home Office to lead an independent review of shari`a councils in the UK; the report was published by the Home Office in February 2018. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and holds an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of Scottish Architects for her contributions to public life. In September 2020, she was invited to join the board of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

In 2011, she was awarded an OBE for her interfaith work. She has spoken on religion and politics at the World Economic Forum in Davos and been listed in the Debretts top 500 list of the most influential people in the UK. In April 2019, she received the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation. In April 2019 she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in December 2020, she was elected honorary member and first speaker of the Royal Scottish Academy.


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