School of Arts and Humanities
University of South Australia Postgraduate Research Award: grant number  / Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend and RTP Fee-Offset Scholarship through the University of South Australia
Since the implementation of a multicultural policy in the 1970s, religious diversity in Australia has increased. Research has demonstrated that intergroup contact is essential for managing diverse multicultural societies. This is because, given the right conditions, intergroup contact will reduce prejudice and build trust between groups. Given the importance of intergroup contact, policy makers and researchers have identified interfaith dialogue’s importance to the success of multicultural societies. However, there is very limited research that explores interfaith dialogue from the perspectives of adherents, in this case Christians and Muslims in the Australian context. This paper focuses on interfaith dialogue between Christians of the Uniting Church and Sunni Muslims of Adelaide, South Australia. It explores the factors that influence participants’ attitudes towards engaging in interfaith dialogue. Using a grounded theory methodology, the study involved seventeen (17) mixed gender Muslim participants over the age of eighteen, including everyday adherents and religious leaders. Some of the key findings demonstrate that theological perspectives and notions of multicultural citizenship are positive drivers for dialogue; Islamophobia and dehumanization of Muslims were inhibitors.
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