Oddbjørn Leirvik, Faculty of Theology,
Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in
Popular realities, political and religious responses, interfaith cooperation
Printed in Islamochristiana vol. 29, 2003, pp. 121-140.
Christian-Muslim relations in any given
country must always be understood against the background of the specific
cultural and political context in which they develop. In that respect, there
are substantial differences even within
feature between the Scandinavian countries is the existence of large Lutheran
national churches, comprising between 80 and 90% of the population. Whereas
The cited paragraphs are not just fading words on yellowed paper. They correspond to strong tendencies in the 1990s among some Norwegian politicians to reaffirm the so-called “Christian cultural heritage” (alternatively, “Christian and humanist values”) as the uniting bond of the Norwegian nation and the foundation stone of its institutions.
the state church legacy,
It was not the Muslims, however, who raised these questions in the first place. Long before the advent of Muslim immigrants in the 1970s, the state-church system was challenged by the other churches (which make up for about 4.5 % of the population) and by the Norwegian Humanist Association (the secular humanists, who organize 1.5 % of the population but exercise a public influence that far exceeds its amount of formal membership). Increasingly, the state church system has also been challenged by church leaders, who combine their desire for more church autonomy with a growing commitment to non-discrimination and religious freedom. This means that in the last two decades, the state-church system has received less enthusiastic backing from “the church itself” than from the politicians and the population in general.
feature of Norwegian society (shared with
In the context of a state church system balanced by compensatory measures, the Muslims in Norway have wavered somehow between joining the secular opposition against the state-church system and siding with Christians and other believers who. Instead of relegating religion to the private sphere, and building upon certain elements of the present system, many Christians and Muslim would like to develop inclusive ways of treating religion as matter of public concern.
In 2003, as many as 76 000 of the perhaps
110 000 inhabitants with a Muslim background had signed up for membership in a
Muslim organisation. This means that the degree of organisation among Norwegian
Muslims is exceptionally high, also in comparison with
who first came as labour immigrants and have later enjoyed family reunification
and experienced family growth in Norway, the far most numerous group consists
of those with a Pakistani background (about 26 000). Turks make up for 13 000
and Moroccans 7 000 of the immigrant population. Among those who came as
refugees and asylum seekers, Bosnians, Iraqis and Iranians amount to about 13
000 each, whereas both Kosovo and
The growth in
Muslim organisational life has largely taken place from the late 1980s and
onwards. Whereas in 1980, not more than 10% of those with a Muslim background
had actually organised themselves as Muslims in
In an early study of varieties among
Pakistani Muslims in
Although Vogt’s warning against simplified categorisation is timely, I would
argue that the distinction between local or national forms of religion on the one hand, and more normative and international visions of Islam on the other, may be a useful analytical tool when trying to come to grips with Muslim varieties. Whereas folk Islam typically does not distinguish between cultural and religious identity, it is exactly this distinction that is triggered by emigration and generational differences. Whereas representatives of folk Islam (for instance, the majority of first generation Pakistani Muslims in Norway, who mostly immigrated from rural districts) have tried to retain the totality of their inherited cultural conventions and religious convictions, the second generation (as well as the more educated ones in the first generation) feel the need to redefine the relation between culture and religion. Many of them take care to distinguish between “culture” and “religion”, in order to articulate an Islamic identity that is both universal and amenable to re-contextualisation.
The figures and
facts given above beg the question of whether Muslim pluralism can really be
captured by means of organisational mappings. In an article entitled “Muslim
and Christians: changing identities”, Jacques Waardenburg notes that in
post-modern societies, religious identities too have become increasingly
personalised and plural in nature: “Leaving apart the influence of political
and economic power, already the complexity of modern societies means that
people now participate in several identities which are often juxtaposed to each
other rather than being put in an hierarchical order”.
Immigrated Muslims too participate in the post-modern, Western reality of
plural identities. This should always be kept in mind, in order to avoid narrow
descriptions of Muslim communities focused on religious or cultural belongings
alone. Whereas some scholars tend to focus on the problems that many young
As for political
Islam, most of the moderate Islamist movements in
The centrality of women’s issues in
Scandinavian culture and politics has already been noted, as a determining
factor for Christian-Muslim encounters in
One the one hand, media conflicts focused on “Islam” tend nearly always to be related to gender issues. On the other hand, Muslims seem also to be influenced in a positive manner by gender patterns in Norwegian society.
has been made by women involved in interfaith dialogue that mutual stereotypes
between Christians and Muslims are often related to the perceived role of women
in Western and Muslim societies respectively (as objectified victims of either
a permissive or a patriarchal culture).
Some of these young women (many of whom have experienced dramatic conflicts with their families) have been engaged by feminist activists and the media to record statements from Muslim leaders, by the use of hidden microphone or camera. The response of Muslim practitioners has been mixed. On the one hand, the use of hidden cameras increase the Muslims’ sense of a general distrust towards them. On the other hand, many Muslim leaders agree that the problems that have been revealed are indeed serious and need to be confronted, although not by means that violate the integrity of the person (as hidden recordings and subsequent clippings can easily do). The most dramatic episode occurred in the autumn of 2000 when a young Somali women equipped with hidden camera by a commercial TV-station, revealed that a number of male African Muslim leaders either supported female circumcision or did not (as it seemed) clearly oppose it. As an immediate result, the then president of the Islamic Council – a highly respected Muslim of Gambian background who has also a long record in Christian-Muslim dialogue – decided to resign.
It was against
this background that Lena Larsen – a female convert to Islam and also a
dialogue- and human rights activist – was elected as the new president of the
Islamic Council, an event of almost historic dimensions. Then in 2002, the
central mosque in
majority of board members in Muslim organisations are still male. I would
nevertheless argue that the cited examples of women leadership should not be
regarded as incidental, ephemeral affairs, but rather as a telling sign of how
Islam is being inculturated in a Nordic environment. In a wider European perspective, the female activists
embody a tendency that Anne-Sofie Roald (who is also a Norwegian convert to
Islam, but resident in
In 2000, the election of Lena Larsen as president of the Islamic Council, was hailed as unexpected good news. However, the winds rapidly changed. Carrying the headscarf and involving herself in discussions about who could rightly claim to represent Islam in Norway (the Islamic Council, or critical Muslims outside of the Islamic organisations?), the sympathy of the media soon shifted to radical feminists with a Muslim background – such as the columnist and stand-up comedian Shabana Rehman who has forcefully attacked both “popular” and “normative” Islam as almost inherently oppressive structures.
In contrast, many young Muslim activists (with or without the headscarf) display publicly how they use the Qur’an and the Sunna as positive resources in their struggle to assert themselves as women with right in male-dominated, Muslim cultures. They are addressing women’s issues not from the outside, but from within the Muslim community.
In a sum, the above developments imply that the question of women in Islam is not really any longer a debate between the Muslims and Norwegian society in general. It is just as much an intra-Muslim debate, in which Muslim women – inspired both by “normative Islam” and Scandinavian values – set the agenda.
It is hard to prophesy, however, what tendency that will have the upper hand in the years to come. When Mohammad Hamdan (an immigrant of Arab background) was elected as the new president of the Islamic Council after Lena Larsen’s period was terminated in 2003, he asserted that Islam supports the rights of women to equal participation in society (in this respect, they can learn from their Norwegian sisters) but reiterated also the traditional claim that Western women have something to learn from the priority that Muslim women will always give to family values.
Political responses to increased religious plurality
Political responses to the Islamic presence
and the new, multi-religious situation in
As for state responses, I shall distinguish analytically between (a) a state-supported, Christian communitarianism; (b) a politics of recognition affirming the rights of communities, and (c) universalist oriented policies focused on individual rights.
(a) State-supported, Christian communitarianism?
On the other side, the new subject also offers ample space for teaching about and learning from the other world religions and life philosophies. Four religions (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism) and one particular ‘life stance’ (Secular Humanism) have been selected as major topics along with Christianity and the more general theme of Philosophy and Ethics. Another major aim of the subject (and in the eyes of many, the most important aim) is to create a space for interfaith dialogue in school.
Leaders of the minority communities have nevertheless seen the new subject as overly self-affirmative on Christianity’s part and Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and secular humanists quickly formed an alliance to oppose the new subject. The Islamic Council and the Humanist Federation have also sued the state for having eliminated the right to full exemption, and hence the right to offer alternative forms of religious or ethical education in school.
Politically, the new subject was introduced by an alliance of the Social democrats and the Christian democrats. Indicative of the symbolic importance of the issue, the curriculum of the subject has been voted on in Parliament. Whereas the pedagogues foresaw an truly inclusive subject which would stimulate both identity formation and dialogue, the politicians may be said to have tilted the balance by overemphasising the opportunity of making all pupils truly familiar with Christian and humanist values. This has led some observers to characterise the subject as a form of state-supported, Christian communitarianism that should not, however, necessarily be confused with Christian conservatism. The underlying vision of leading politicians has rather been that of a liberal, Christian inclusivism which has nevertheless been felt as slightly suffocating by some of minorities.
However, the case is not closed. In 2002, the name of the subject was modified in a slightly less hierarchical direction and rephrased as “Knowledge of Christianity, Religion and Life Stances”. In practice, teacher creativity and the opportunity of local adaptation have enabled many schools with a multi-religious constituency to modify the subject in a truly inclusive fashion. Whereas Muslim leaders retain much of their principal objections, some Muslim parents and not least, many Muslim pupils, seem to view the subject in a more positive light.
Since pupils, parents and religious leaders do not necessarily agree on this issue, the debate also touches upon the question of representation and who should be the privileged bearers of rights. When negotiating the question of religion in school, to whom should the authorities turn: to the Muslim faith communities, to the Muslim parents, or (in the case of secondary school) to Muslim youth (in religious matters, the age of majority in
(b) Politics of recognition, focused on communities
According to both Norwegian law and human
rights conventions, in matters pertaining to religious instruction and
religious education in school parents are the privileged bearers of rights. It
may still be politically wise to include the faith communities in negotiations
about religion in school. In the initial phases of the planning process behind
the new subject, neither the faith communities nor individuals representing
other religions than Christianity took part. But because of the protests,
representatives of the major faith and life stance communities were eventually
invited to suggest how their living traditions should be represented in the
curriculum. They were also allowed to comment on proposed textbooks.
The eventual inclusion of the faith communities in the formative process could be taken as a hesitant “politics of recognition” which relates to the communal dimension of moral and religious identity. The term “politics of recognition” or “politics of difference” have been used by Charles Taylor and others to characterise a liberal approach to religious plurality that has often been branded as multiculturalism. In contrast with liberal policies focused merely on the rights of individuals, multiculturalism treats the issue of religious freedom as a matter of the right balance between individual rights and the cultural rights of collectives. By contemporary Islamic democrats such as Ali Bulaç in
In the early 1980s, however, Norwegian Social democrats turned to a kind of Christian-Humanist value policy that was propounded as more liberal and inclusive than the counter-cultural type of Christianity traditionally represented by the Christian democrats. Before that, Social democrats in
Four years later, the Christian democrats approved the same application, and declared it as a principle that they would support Muslim schools on a par with private schools established by Christian minorities. As a token of the same politics of recognition, the Christian democrat prime minister (Kjell Magne Bondevik) made formal visits to the Muslim communities in 1999, and once more during his second term in service in 2001. (To date, such symbolic visits have not been made by Social democrat prime ministers.)
The way in which
The same is true of how the Law about equality between the sexes, which was introduced in 1978, is applied. Although state feminism has been a salient feature of Norwegian politics during the last decades (under the Social Democrats), faith communities have been fully exempted from the equality laws’ claims and regulations. In this case too, the religious rights of faith communities have been given priority over against the religious rights of individuals (in casu, women).
The principle of a general exemption from the equality laws’ regulations is, however, debated. Many Social democrats would like to see compliance with egalitarian principles as a prerequisite for receiving financial support from the state. That would imply putting up a limit to the politics of recognition. But exactly where should the line be drawn between communal interest and individual rights, between a politics of difference and a value-based politics aimed at safeguarding (for instance) the rights of women and children?
In some European countries, Muslims have claimed their right to communal autonomy in family law, in accordance with established principles in societies with a Muslim majority. So far, Norwegian Muslims have voiced no such claim. In the matter of family- and inheritance law, both Social and Christian democrats would probably draw a solid line against possible Muslim wishes, with reference to established principles of gender equality in modern Western law. In 2003, however, the question was raised in Norwegian media of whether the establishment of a national shari‘a council (like in
(c) Supporting the universal rights of individual believers
In the cited discussion about shari‘a
councils and women’s rights, the question at stake is actually the safeguarding
of individual rather than communal rights (although the latter is implicated).
Even those who generally advocate a community-oriented politics of recognition,
strongly affirm that certain individual rights must never be violated with
reference to communal interests. Putting
up limits against violence and forced loyalties would suffice as general
There may, however, be different opinions about the most efficient way of protecting individual rights in these fields. Is the integrity of the individual best safeguarded through long-term work from within the relevant cultural or religious groups, or by firm pressure on the groups in question from the outside? Although many Christians in Norway would sympathetic to Muslim claims that cultural abuses are most efficiently combated “from the inside”, Christians have also pointed to the fact that changes in the direction of gender equality in the churches have often come about by pressure “from the outside” (i.e., from the labour and feminist movements which have surely had many committed Christians as their members but challenged church structures from the outside).
In the case of religion in school, we have seen that there is delicate balance between individual rights and group-oriented approaches. Formally, when suing the state for taking away the right of exemption from religious education, both the Islamic Council and the Humanist Association have represented groups of parents rather than religious interest groups. However, as indicated above, local reports testify to the fact that other parents (Muslims and secular humanists) are relatively happy with the way the new subject works in practice. There is probably a general lesson to be drawn from this: in monitoring Muslim responses to majority projects, one should never be content with listening to the attitudes of organised Muslim communities and their spokesmen. As many Christians, many Muslims too have individual opinions that run counter to views expressed by their leaders. In some cases, they may be more liberal than their leaders. In other cases, they may hold more conservative views – for instance on behalf of their cultural heritage.
The question of communal versus individual rights becomes even more delicate when reformulated as a question of how far that state should go in favouring this or that position in an internal Muslim (or Christian) debate. Should the state take value-based action, intervene in the matters of faith communities and support individuals (for instance children and women) and their rights against the current leaders of their faith communities? Or should the state confine itself to a liberal politics of recognition and only intervene in the internal affairs of faith communities when the life and health of individual believers is endangered?
In the case of gender equality, Norwegian authorities have a legacy of active intervention in the church matters. Although being a state-church, the
Towards a renegotiated politics of religion
With only 25 years of experience to
accommodate for multi-religious pluralism,
Many Norwegians – both Christians and Muslims – would probably agree that moral values and religious belief should continue to be regarded as a matter of communal concern. Here, the northern European state church legacy (in a modernised, liberal version) might seem to converge with some classical Islamic concerns. But in concrete matters, conflicts will probably continue to arise. And many hard questions will have to be resolved – at the intersection between value-based state policies, the liberty of faith communities and the rights of individuals.
Church responses and interfaith initiatives
In the general public, inclusive attitudes
have long competed with mounting anxiety towards Islam and Muslims. In cultural
and political debates about Christianity and Islam, church leaders in general
have defended Muslim minority rights and protected their integrity against
populist assaults. During the last decade, liberal forms of Christian
communitarianism (as cited above) have competed with more conservative and
aggressive versions. For instance, in the 1990s representatives of the influential
right wing populist party Fremskrittspartiet (“The Progress Party”)
repeatedly singled out Muslims as a threat to Norwegian society and
Christianity. In general, such attempts have been met with firm resistance from
the church leaders. 1997, Christian leaders of all confessions and theological
tendencies joined hands with the Muslim community and warned publicly against
the enemy images of Islam produced by populist politicians.
Two examples from 1990 may serve to indicate the difference between populist, conservative reactions to the new Islamic presence on the one hand, and the more welcoming response of church leaders on the other. That year, a Christian organisation had invited a well-known media celebrity, Rolv Wesenlund, to address their annual meeting, perhaps as a voice from the periphery of the church. The invited voice of the people took the opportunity of summoning the assembly to a “spiritual warfare” against Islam “which is not a tolerant religion”. He also admonished the audience to strengthen Christian education in school, in defence of what he termed “our Norwegian, Protestant faith”.
Afterwards, some conservative Christians proposed that Wesenlund should be regarded as a “honorary bishop” for his courageous defence of Christianity. The actual bishops, however, demonstrated less apologetic attitudes. In 1990, the former missionary Bjørn Bue paid the first formal visit of a bishop to a Norwegian mosque and its imam who was also a prominent Sufi of the Chistiyya order. The visit ended by the bishop and the imam drinking a toast for the temperance movement – in Pakistani tea (in significant parts of Norwegian Christianity, abstention from alcohol has been just as much a Christian cause as it has always been a Muslim one). After the meeting, the bishop commended the imam for his hospitality and openness to dialogue.
In 1991, a missionary organisation initiated the first centre for inter-religious dialogue in
Group has provided a space for dialogue between the Muslim organisations and
the Norwegian churches as faith communities, transcending the dominant
discourses in society that are often highly apologetic on the part of either
the majority population or the minorities and their cultures. Although some
Muslims and Christians anticipated that the Contact Group might also provide an
opportunity for conservative alliances around traditional values (for instance,
against homosexual marriages which was legalised in
Bilateral forums such as the Contact Group have later been supplemented by multilateral ones like the (interfaith) Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities which was established in 1996. The interfaith council was formed against the background of the minorities’ resistance to the proposed common subject of Christian/Religious Education mentioned above. Differently from many other interfaith initiatives, it was initiated by the minorities who – on the basis of a minority alliance that was struck the year before – invited the churches to form a joint interfaith council.
A few personal
examples may serve to illustrate the degree to which religious and life stance
leaders have engaged each other on the basis of shared standards of equality
and a joint commitment to dialogue. The first president of the interfaith
council was a Pentecostal Christian, the second one a Norwegian-born Buddhist.
Their first secretary was a secular humanist, who was offered an office by the
Council of Christian Churches in
A salient feature of these and other initiatives from the 1990s is the firm distinction that has often been made by dialogue activists between cultural and religious values. Muslim dialogue activists have often felt the need to dissociate themselves from traditional – e.g., patriarchal or honour code-dominated – attitudes and actions. Correspondingly, many Christian leaders are keen on distinguishing between national religion in its cultural expressions on the one side and evangelical values on the other. The shared tendency to distinguish sharply between “religion” and “culture” has proved to be both a strength and weakness of Christian-Muslim dialogue in
The most important thing, however, is to recognise the fact of internal plurality in all faith communities. Also in the Norwegian context, it has been demonstrated that Muslims may be just as divided among themselves as Christians have been; in both doctrinal, ethical and political matters. Maybe in the future, one will witness competing “conservative” and “liberal” alliances between Christians and Muslim who hold different views in moral and political questions. Some of the cited dialogue initiatives in
In many cases,
however, potential conservative allies seems to keep a distance from each
other, because of deep-seated prejudices against the other religion which also
in Norway surface occasionally, among both Christian and Muslim leaders of a
more traditionalist type. In the case of the Pentecost movement, an interesting
shift has taken place among some leaders in the direction of more open
attitudes to Muslims, with the world wide evangelist Aril Edvardsen’s friendly
approach to Islam as the most prominent example. In both 1999 and 2002, he
combined evangelistic campaigns in
of the Pentecostalist Aril Edvardsen are indicative of the fact that Protestant
Christian-Muslim dialogue is no more the exclusive cause of liberals. It also
engages conservative Christians who recognise the spiritual and
counter-cultural potential of Islam; perhaps also seeing Islam as a potential
ally against secularism and the privatisation of religion.
Since both “conservatives” and “liberals” (if such slippery categories give any meaning at all in the 21st century) now engage in interfaith network building and dialogue, both Christians and Muslims will increasingly have to confront the reality of a moral and political disagreement that cut right across religious divides.
Neither in the
question of war and peace and the pressing issue of how to combat terrorism, do
the dividing lines in any way coincide with that between “Christians” and
“Muslims”. On the global scene, this has become abundantly clear in the
aftermath of 11 September 2001 and the ensuing war in
But both church leaders and Muslims (at least those in the region) differed among themselves as to the legitimacy or wisdom of the bombing campaign. In the case of the
The majority on
both sides, however, were critical of the war in
Interfaith dialogues can be an important element in fostering a culture of recognition. But dialogues between Christian and Muslim leaders have also some obvious limitations. Many of those who identify themselves as Christians and Muslims are not affected by formalised dialogues and may not even be aware of the rather intimate interaction across religious divides that has evolved at the leadership level. And despite a growing awareness dialogue initiatives at the national level, many are marked by globalised discourses of clashing Christian and Muslim civilisations.
Dialogues at the top level may also run the risk of overlooking the experiences of those who are, in a way or other, victimised by their faith communities. A deep-going interfaith dialogue will have too be self-critical on behalf of the faith communities, and address some hard questions which the state for a great part must leave to the faith communities to handle. The theme of gender equality is one obvious example, the dynamics of enemy images another. Although enemy images and disrespectful ways of talking about the Other are always decried in normative discourses, they continue to flourish in the internal lives of the faith communities.
Only by honest and self-critical approaches to religion and culture can interfaith dialogue change anything in the perception of the Self and the Other. Mutual transformations will often be the enriching yet painful experience of the few who make a personal commitment to dialogue. For more wide-ranging changes to take place, public arenas for all are needed. With its unified school system and its tradition for teaching religion in school,
the interests of the state and those of the national church are perceived as
different. Whereas the state authorities seem always to focus on ‘integration’
– often on Christian, communitarian premises – church leaders focus rather on
the autonomy of faith communities and the rights of religious minorities in
civil society. There are in fact many indications that the churches will be in
the forefront of a process towards more inclusive expressions of national unity
– acting not only as representatives of the “Christian cultural heritage”, but
just as much as defenders of minority rights. In this respect, the
institutionalised dialogue between the churches and the Muslim communities in
Naguib: Mosques in
 Christine M.
Jacobsen has researched the new Muslim youth organisations under the heading
of ”the many forms of belonging”: Tilhørighetens
mange former. Unge muslimer i Norge.
 Nora Ahlberg: New challenges – old strategies. Themes of variation and conflict among Pakistani Muslims in Norway. Helsinki: Finnish Anthropological Society, 1990.
Vogt: Islam på norsk. Moskeer og islamske organisasjoner i Norge (”Islam
in Norwegian. Mosques and Islamic organisations in
 Jacques Waardenburg: ”Muslims and Christians: changing identities”, in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations vol 11, no. 2: 2000 (p. 159).
Østberg: Muslim i Norge. Religion og hverdagsliv blant unge
 See interviews in Dagbladet and Verdens Gang 22 May 2003.
 I’m referring here to the distinction between public and hidden transcripts made by James C. Scott in his book Dominance and the Art of Resistance. Hidden Transcripts, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994.
 Anne Hege Grung: “Kvinneperspektiv på kristen-muslimsk dialog” (“Women’s perspectives on Christian-Muslim dialogue”), in Islam, kristendom og modernitet – i Danmark og Norge”, Tiderne Skifter: Copenhagen 2004 (forthcoming).
 The Fadime case is
summed up and discussed by Unni Wikan: For ærens skyld. Fadime til
ettertanke (”For the sake of honour. In memory of Fadime”),
 Although this leader did not personally support female circumcision, his approach to the issue – as presented in the TV-presentation – was seen in an unfavourable light by most commentators. The unbalanced way in which his position (and that of another colleague) was presented in the media, has later been critically examined by other journalists. Cf. the retrospective analysis by Inger Anne Olsen i Aftenposten 9 November 2002 (”Var rikets tilstand sånn som vi trodde?”).
 As expressed in an interview in the newspaper Dagsavisen, 07.03.2003.
 An English version
of the new subject’s syllabus can be found in The Curriculum for the 10-year
 In the official English version of the curriculum from 1999, the name of the subject was translated in a more inclusive way as ”Christian Knowledge and Religious and Ethical education”.
 The Curriculum
for the 10-year
 Their cases have
been turned down in Norwegian courts, but the secular humanists are bent on
taking the case to the human rights’ court in
 As documented by Sissel Østberg (2003) and others.
 See Charles Taylor:
‘The Politics of Recognition’, in Charles Taylor et al.: Multiculturalism.
Examining the Politics of Recognition.
 In the case of
Bulaç, this has put forward as an alternative to prevailing secularist
understandings of the Turkish nation. See Menderes Çinar and Ayse Kadioglu: ‘An
Islamic critique of modernity in
 Samme kirke, ny
ordning (“Same church, new arrangement”),
 Vårt Land, 4 and 9 September 1990. Cf. Oddbjørn Leirvik: Religionsdialog på norsk, Oslo: Pax 2001, s. 63.
 Aftenposten 29 October 1990.
 See the web-page http://folk.uio.no/leirvik/emmaus.html
 As documented in the
book by Anne Hege Grung and Lena Larsen: Dialog med og uten slør
(“Dialogue with and without the veil”),
 See the Oslo Coalition’s web-site http://www.oslocoalition.org
 See Lars Gule: “De vanskelige rettighetene” (”The difficult rights”), Dagbladet 18 August 2002.
 Cf. his magazine Troens Bevis, June 1999 and January 2002.
 Cf. Oddbjørn Leirvik: “Global ethics and moral disagreement after September 11, 2001: A Christian-Muslim Perspective”, in Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 1: 2003, pp. 18-29.
 Aftenposten, 31 October 2001.
 Dagsavisen 24 March 2003: ”Ber sammen for fred” (”Praying together for peace”).
 A striking example
of how dialogue and “diapractice” challenges traditional images of the Other is
the joint but controversial Christian-Muslim alliance against apartheid in
South-Africa, as reflected upon in by Farid Esack in Qur’an, Liberation and
Pluralism. An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity Against