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,
Ph.D. (University of Durham, Comparative Theology)
Dr David Coffey,
Ph.D. (University of Edinburgh, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies)
Dr Coffey and Dr Glaser are Founding Fellows of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies in Oxford, England.
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.
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 Alex Massad
Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary
Dr Massad is managing our inaugural conference on 'Daniel, Islam, Apocalyptic', and will be an editor of the conference volume.
He works in comparative theology and comparative religious studies focusing on Muslim-Christian thought. A native of Houston, who grew up in the Middle East, he received his PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2020 and holds a Masters in Religion and Theology from Georgetown University and a Masters in Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Virginia. He has published articles on Muslim-Christian soteriology and epistemology and is currently working on publishing his dissertation Witnessing God: Witnessing God: Missiology Through Neo-Calvinism, Islamic Reformism, and Comparative Theology.
Ustadh Motaz Al-Thaher
Online course facilitator
Motaz Al-Thaher assists in the development and teaching of our online courses.
He is completing on a Ph.D. in the philosophy of Islamic law from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. He is a mechanical engineer, entrepreneur, co-founder of SOLVillion, which is a startup, specialized in water solutions in Jordan, and Business Development Manager of Fatabyyano fact-checking platform in the MENA region. Recently he joined the Maqasid Institute as the Manager of the “Maqasid Scholars Training Program “. He has recently completed 2 years as a visiting scholar at Baylor University, Waco, Texas.