Who We Are
Transforming Muslim-Christian Relationships
Houston is home to large, vibrant Muslim and Christian communities. It has the largest Muslim community in the US, and has a diverse Christian community including the largest church in the country. These two vibrant religious communities live together, meet and mingle throughout our city, and yet:
Many Christians distrust and fear Muslims
Many Muslims distrust and fear Christians
Both groups believe false stereotypes about the other
Both groups talk past one another in the public square or when trying to understand important events
There is a genuine need and a unique opportunity in Houston to develop a realistic model for Muslim-Christian interaction in the US that takes into account the realities of both religions and provides a backdrop for dialog that addresses the two religious beliefs.
The Center for Muslim and Christian Studies Houston is an exciting new venture responding to these needs. Its founding academics, Drs Ida Glaser and David Coffey, are developing it alongside its senior sister Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies in Oxford, England. Its heart is a hospitable community of learners - Muslims and Christians doing serious academic study and research together, and making their teaching available to the wider religious communities. When coronavirus restrictions are lifted, we plan such activities as a summer school following the pattern of the Oxford summer school pictured above.
Dr Ida Glaser, Director
Ph.D. (University of Durham, Comparative Theology)
Dr Glaser has taught physics in Islamic contexts and done church-based outreach in multi-racial, inner-city Britain, and has taught Muslim-Christian relations at the post-graduate level in Jamaica, Nigeria, the Philippines, and the UK. Her Ph.D. examined Genesis 1-11 in the context of parallel Qur’anic material and ministry among Muslims. Ida's publications include Thinking Biblically about Islam (Langham, 2016), Reading the Bible in Islamic Context: Qur'anic Conversations (Routledge, 2018) and The Bible and Other Faiths (IVP/Langham, 2005)
Dr David Coffey, Lecturer & Director of Development
Ph.D. (University of Edinburgh, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies)
Dr. Coffey worked in clinical psychology and was then in Christian ministry in the United States before going back to Bangladesh (where he was brought up) and becoming involved in teaching and translation. His Ph.D. is on the history of Muslim-Christian dialogue in 19th century India, focusing on how studying truth admitted in both the Qur'an and the Bible can facilitate communication. He is adjunct faculty at Houston Christian University.
Dr. Coffey and Dr. Glaser are Founding Fellows of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies in Oxford, England.
Dr Motaz Al-Thaher, Lecturer & Online Course Coordinator
Ph.D. (International Islamic University of Malaysia)
Motaz Al-Thaher has an MA in Qur'anic sciences from the WISE University in Amman in addition to his Ph.D. in the philosophy of Islamic law. He is currently researching al-Farahi's views of the Bible as part of the 'Muslim Views of the Bible' project at CMCS Oxford. He is a member of the Maqasid Institute and has managed its the "Maqasid Scholars Training Program."
Motaz is also a mechanical engineer, entrepreneur, co-founder of SOLVillion, a new environmental project offering solutions to the water resource crisis in Jordan.
Su Irez, Administrator
Su Irez facilitates the smooth running of the center's daily program and events along with providing administrative support to the management team.
Su Irez is born and raised in Turkey, now living in Houston. She really enjoys science, and she has a bachelor's and master's degree. She also enjoys learning other cultures and is delighted to be a part of Center of Muslim Christian Studies Houston.
Adjuncts and Researchers
Rev Martins Adikwu, Kaduna Co-ordinator
Rev Adikwu is responsible for recruiting and facilitating our online students in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria. Most of these students are graduates from the Kaduna Centre for the Study of Christian-Muslim Relations.
Rev Adikwu is the chair of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the Saba Tasha Zone of Kaduna State, which includes more than 200 churches. He pastors a church, chairs a local 'Conflict and Peace Committee', and also works an airline pilot.
Dr Azadeh Rezaie, Research Fellow
Ph.D., Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.
Dr Rezaie is part of our Daniel, Islam, Apocalyptic project and is also a member of Dr David Cook's Islamic Apocalyptic Research Group. Her interests range from apocalyptic motifs in cinema to Judeo-Christian and Muslim literature, particularly the Shi'ite Hadith sources. Her doctoral dissertation compared a Christian and a Muslim Apocalypse: the Apocalypse of John and the Kitāb al-ghayba of al-Nu‘mānī.
Between 2009 and 2019, she was a lecturer at Payam Noor University, Sari, Mazandaran Province and Alzahra University, Tehran, teaching various courses on the history of world religions and Sufism.