The End of Summit Oxford • Launching the Oxford Study Centre

The End of Summit Oxford

(Telos: end, purpose.)

oxfordstudycentre.org

There are times when events present us with significant changes. As such, we have an important announcement to make – several, in fact – as well as much gratitude to express. But first things first.

As of 31 December 2016, Summit Oxford will come to an end. 

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On (Not) Offending Muslims

On (Not) Offending Muslims

Kevin James Bywater

As they say, reality can be stranger than fiction. So it is with people: the realities can be stranger than the stereotypes. And some conversations are just different that usual. Some can strip away preconceptions. Here are snippets from one I had with a Muslim taxi driver in Oxford. He was an amiable chap, about my age.

• • •

We had been quipping back and forth about the traffic when I asked, “Where are you from?”

He chuckled deeply, “Pakistan.”

Really, I wondered to myself, with his clear Oxford accent?

“How long have you lived here in Oxford?” I followed up.

“For over forty years,” he smiled. “I was born here. I grew up here, in Cowley.”

He was born in Oxford. He grew up in Oxford. He is from Pakistan?! 

What strange language is this, I wondered. Then I realized that it sounds about how children of Christian missionaries might answer.

taxi bus london

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Liberty or Islamic Law

 

Note: This essay originally was published in Summit Ministries’ June 2013 edition of The Journal (PDF download here; html version here). The constraints of the print edition required great concision. The version below will enlarge, providing additional explanation and documentation.

Muslim WomenIntroduction: A Conversation and Some Lessons

Being rather burdened with baggage, I was pleased when our driver showed himself amiable and helpful by quickly loading the large duffle bags filled with rocks — or whatever it was that made them so heavy. By this point of the morning, the bags were very heavy. We had been weighing them and shuffling things around for hours. (These were the days when we were permitted two 70lbs. bags per person. Oh, the golden age of air travel.)

We were tired from cleaning and packing for our journey to the States. Each of us also was filled with excitement — the airports, the flight, the reunions with friends and family, the sunshine and mountains. There really wasn’t time to rest on the way to the airport, so we occupied the children with small snacks and drinks. With limited room in the back of the van, I was sat in the front with the driver. Our trip to Heathrow would take just over an hour, plenty of time for a conversation. (And I do enjoy these conversations with our taxi drivers.)

I found out that he was from Sudan and that he’d lived in Oxford for over a decade. I asked whether he missed Sudan. He said that he missed family and food, primarily. But he also noted how much he enjoyed living in Oxford. “It is very peaceful here,” he enthused. (Interestingly, this is something I hear time and again from Muslims living in and around Oxford: it is peaceful here.)

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