Lahti Interfaith Taskforce organized a lecture and dialog event ‘Dialog between Christians and Muslims ‘ on March 5th 2013 at Lahti Folk High School. Around 50 people participated.

Pastor Elina Lehdeskoski served as host and presentations were interpreted in English and Turkish when needed.


The first guest speaker, Doctor of Theology, Dean of Tampere Diocese Ari Hukari said:

-  We are living in a most interesting time of our joint history. The clear boundaries between religions and cultures are vanishing. There are more and more Muslims in Europe. Europe cannot be considered as Christian anymore, but as a multicultural and multi religious continent.

For that reason we should learn to live side by side and create functioning models for our common society how to live together in peace respecting each other.

We need to organize these kind of conversation events so that we could learn to understand each other, to value each others’ way of life and reconcile our differences so that both sides experience that their human rights and freedom of religion are fulfilled.


-  By working together we learn to know each other and value each others’ way of life. What unites us most are the common life received from God as a gift, humanity and caring for each other. In many dialogs between Muslims and Christians the conclusion has been made that doctrinal dispute does not get anywhere.

The focus has been on more practical themes where common values unite us to work together.

Common themes are for instance: peace, social justice, defending the status of faith and religion in the secularized society and defending family values.


The other guest speaker, PhD, Assistant Professor of Islam from the University of Huston, TX Erkan Kurt spoke about God’s act of creation: the first creation and what the Qur’an says about it and also about God’s continuous creation. He used lots of quotes from the Qur’an which resembled similar texts in the Old Testament (Psalms, Isaiah, Job)


-  There seems to be a common understanding of divine creation among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each of these religions explain the events of the world ultimately as the result of God’s creative word.

The Qur’an’s conception of creation does not rule out how science explains the world, for the Qur’an doesn’t present any sort of natural history. God’s continuous creation is strongly related to His control over the forces of nature. In Islamic metaphysics, all power in the universe ultimately belongs to God and all physical forces come into reality as the effects of God’s creative command.









Ari Hukari, Elina Lehdeskoski and Erkan Kurt.