Religious tolerance is not enough and much more can be
gained from a more active engagement between people of
different faiths, visiting Canadian Muslim academic Prof Ingrid
Prof Mattson, a Canadian-born professor of Islamic studies at
the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, was in
Dunedin this week to give the 10th annual Otago University
Chaplaincy and Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith open peace
Prof Mattson said religious tolerance was clearly better than
intolerance of other faiths but, ultimately, involved only a
Laws also specified minimum protections but often did not
consider fuller moral issues and requirements, she said.
The world faced many problems, including climate change and
Increasing active contacts between people of different faiths
was one way of tapping into that valuable diversity of views
and producing a wider range of potential answers.
This approach was likely to generate ideas that ''hadn't been
thought about before''.
People who worked with and had neighbours of other faiths
also had a more positive view of such faiths.
Interfaith engagement would not solve every issue but the
benefits were great, including creating ''some
Awareness that people of a specific faith were actually part
of a much broader community that included other faiths had
been ''a really important development in human history''.
It was ''certainly an honour'' for her to be among the
participants in the Otago lecture series, given the ''really
important and interesting'' people who had taken part, she
Otago University chaplain the Rev Greg Hughson has helped
organise the peace lectures, in association with members of
the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group.
Prof Mattson has been an adviser to successive American
governments and was president of the Islamic Society of North
America from 2006-10.
In 2004, former New Zealand prime minister David Lange gave
the first of the peace lectures, which organisers said was
also his last lecture before his death in 2005.