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Dr David Singh at Intercultural Conversations in Chennai, India

David Singh participated in the annual conference organised jointly by Goethe University of Frankfurt, University of Madras and ACCS. The conference focussed on the issue of minorities and migration.  There were about 35 participants and the format was designed to encourage not just monologues but a symposium with a serious intent to have a conversation on the theme of minorities and migration; the problems and opportunities this presents and the role of church and Christian theology both in action and reflection. My paper highlighted the reality of surprisingly diverse choices immigrants make as they come to terms with whatever crises they face. Two theoretical domains were used to order and explain the disparate responses instead of simply identifying the options and describing them. The first was the notion of ‘modernity’ and, the second, ‘conversion discourse’. The immigrant responses, I argued, converge around these revealing not only those who find answers within Islam (through re-visioning it) but also those who seek answers outside it (through conversion). This not only showed examples of ‘Muslim modernity’ in the heart of the West, but also of their choices to seek change through affiliations with Christianity and secular humanism. The underlying argument was that Muslim responses are far more diverse and varied than existing literature on Muslim immigrants in the West shows. This paper will appear in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Asian Christianity (EJ Brill, Leiden).

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