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Academics

Visiting scholar to speak about rise of Islamophobia and antisemitism in recent years

Rita George-Tvrtković, Ph.D., will present a lecture entitled “The Twin Sins of Islamophobia and Antisemitism: Why Christians Can’t Do Dialogue in Isolation” at 4:30 p.m. March 20 in the Centenary Room (room 264) of the Quadrangle Building on the Saint John’s University campus.

The one-hour program is free, open to the public and sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at Saint John’s University in collaboration with the Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary.

“Dr. George-Tvrtković will draw on her scholarly work in the field of Christian-Muslim relations and on her experience as a professor at a Catholic university with a 25% Muslim student body,” said John Merkle, director of the Jay Phillips Center. “She will also discuss how in recent years she has felt compelled to address antisemitism due to escalating hate crimes against Jews in the United States and elsewhere.”

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between antisemitism and Islamophobia in the last four years,” George-Tvrtković said. “Especially due to antisemitic incidents on my campus and in the wider world.”

Her lecture will discuss why Christians must combat what she has called the “twin sins” of Islamophobia and antisemitism, not only for the safety and well-being of Muslims and Jews, but for the integrity of Christian faith.

George-Tvrtković earned her doctorate in theology at the University of Notre Dame and is a professor of theology at Benedictine University in metro Chicago. A specialist in medieval Christian-Muslim relations and contemporary interreligious dialogue, she was appointed by Pope Francis to be a consultor for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue.

George-Tvrtković has written such books as A Christian Pilgrim in Medieval Iraq: Riccoldo da Montecroce’s Encounter with Islam (2012) and Christians, Muslims, and Mary: A History (2018), as well as articles in a number of scholarly journals, including Catholic Historical ReviewJournal of Jesuit Studies and Theological Studies.

Rita George-Tvrtković, Ph.D.