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About the Author and Contributors,
God is One: The Way of Islam

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The Rev. Dr. R. Marston Speight wrote the first edition of God is One: The Way of Islam while serving as director of the Office on Christian-Muslim Relations of the National Council of Churches from 1971-92.  From 1951-79, he lived in northern Africa, serving churches and Algeria and Tunisia and later co-directing the Christian Center for North African Studies in Algiers and a United Methodist research program on Christian-Muslim relations in Tunis.


A native of Texas, Dr. Speight is a graduate of Baylor University and earned his Ph.D. in the history of religions from Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Conn.  He has written many articles and several books on Islam and Christianity, and has organized and taken part in many Christian-Muslim dialogues.  A retired minister in the United Methodist Church, he lives with his family in Connecticut. 



The Rev. Dr. Jay T. Rock, author of the “Leader’s Study Guide” to God is One, is a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor who served parishes in Northern California for seven years. He earned an M.A. in Theological Studies from San Francisco Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in the History and Phenomenology of Religions from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Dr. Rock teaches and lectures on a variety of topics, including Christian theology and interfaith relations. He offers workshops on reconciliation, story and community, and creating a safe place for dialogue; and leadership training in ways of deepening roots in our own tradition while developing relations with people of other religions. Jay also has skills and experience as a community organizer and group facilitator.


Staff members of the Hartford (Conn.) Seminary and its Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations wrote the “Afterword” for the second edition of God is One: The Way of Islam.  Named for one of the nation’s early, pre-eminent scholars of Islam, the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations is the country’s oldest such center.


Dr. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi‘, Professor of Islamic Studies and Co-Director, Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary and co-editor of The Muslim World.  Professor Abu-Rabi‘, a Palestinian Muslim born in Nazareth, Galilee, holds dual citizenship in the United States and Israel and has received degrees from Birzeit University (in Birzeit, West Bank, Palestine), the University of Cincinnati, and Temple University.

Dr. Abu-Rabi‘ has served as Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and has held a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  Fluent in Hebrew, Arabic and English, he travels widely in the Far East, Middle East and the West as a consultant and lecturer. He has published articles and reviews in a variety of American, Middle Eastern and Indian journals.

Dr. Jane I. Smith, Professor of Islamic Studies and Co-Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary and co-editor of The Muslim World. A member of the United Church of Christ, she has done extensive work on Muslim communities in America, Christian theology in relation to Islam, historical relations between Christians and Muslims, Islamic conceptions of death and afterlife, and the role and status of women in Islam.


Among Dr. Smith’s recent publications are Islam in America (Columbia Press, 1999); “Islam and Christendom” in The Oxford History of Islam (Oxford University Press, 1999); “Christian Missionary Views of Islam in the 19th-20th Centuries” in Islam and Muslim-Christian Religions, 1998; Muslim Communities in America (State University of New York Press, 1994); Mission to America: Five Islamic Communities in the United States (University Presses of Florida, 1993).

Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Professor of Islamic Studies at the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn.  Dr. Mattson earned her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1999. Her research is focused on Islamic law and society, especially in the early Islamic period.

Dr. Mattson is a Canadian Muslim who studied Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (B.A. ’87). In 1988 she traveled to Pakistan where she worked with Afghan refugee women and obtained a grant from the Canadian International Development Agency to develop a training and support program for traditional midwives. During her graduate studies in Chicago, Dr. Mattson was involved with the local Muslim community, serving on the Board of Directors of Universal School in Bridgeview and as a member of the Interfaith Committee of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

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