Islam Among the Spires: An Oxford Reverie
by Kenneth Cragg
Centres of Christian Studies lie below a far horizon in the Universities of Riyadh or Qum. The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, active since 1985, awaits splendid new buildings on a site made available by Magdalen College, approved by the City Council and the Hebdomadal Council of the University. Its mosque, library, lecture hall and student housing will set their minaret among ‘the dreaming spires’ of Matthew Arnold’s Victorian, wryly wistful, veneration. This occasion, due to take landscape-shape among them, deserves an intellectual celebration from within Oxford’s long Christian tradition, duly tempered by the self-doubt of authentic academies.
What, then, might a ‘Reverie’—no more—around the presence and the programme of the Islamic Centre visualise of its agenda and how it sees itself? How may it address a widening global perplexity around self-intrinsic faiths? How readily be alert to human situations belonging to the world of all of us?
216 x 135 mm
Melisende, UK, 2000