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Southwestern introduces Islamic studies program to reach Muslims

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–A new master’s degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will train students to minister to the growing number of Muslims in the United States and abroad.

Trustees at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, approved a master of arts in Islamic studies at their biannual meeting March 6.

The 2-year master’s degree has been designed to prepare cross-cultural ministers who desire specialized preparation in the field of Islamic studies.

Degree candidates will obtain more effective skills for reaching and making Christian disciples of people with an Islamic background, school administrators say.

Program director Samuel Shahid says the 57-hour degree will “provide students with the appropriate worldview and theological background in Islamic studies which would help them to function in their ministries in an Islamic context.”

David Crutchley, dean of Southwestern’s school of theology, says the Islamic studies degree is important because “the Islamic religion is dominant in 45 countries, and significant Muslim communities are found in at least another 20.

“One-point-two billion people embrace the Islamic faith, one-fifth of the world’s population,” Crutchley adds. “This new degree gives Southwestern Seminary students a wonderful opportunity to become equipped for meaningful and relevant missions in the challenging world of Islam.”

The degree will include courses covering such topics as the Koran, the Hadith, folk Islam, African-American Islam and Arabic. To be admitted, students must have experience in ministry to people of Islamic backgrounds or commit to do so in the future.

“Some students may have already spent some time in the field,” Shahid says. “In that case, we will be flexible enough to take their experience into consideration in regards to the requirements.”

Shahid is an Arab-born American who has authored more than 36 books in Arabic and English and has translated the Old Testament into the modern Arabic language. Southwestern’s Islamic studies program is one of only three offered by seminaries in the United States.

To obtain an application packet or for more information, call 1-800-SWBTS-01 or send an e-mail message to [email protected].

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  • David Porter