Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

Public Dialogues

Can Christianity and Islam Co-Exist? A National Dialogue

In September 2015, the ACC&C hosted the first events in its National Dialogue series. The interfaith discussion 'Can Christianity and Islam co-exist?' attracted large audiences and national media coverage. The event proved particularly popular in Adelaide and Canberra, with hundreds turning out in those cities to hear from eminent public scholars Rev Prof James Haire AC and Prof Azyumardi Azra CBE.

The national dialogue was held in five capital cities and one major regional NSW city to promote fresh understanding of how people of different faiths and cultures can grow together in understanding and appreciation of one another.

Audiences enjoyed a frank discussion about a range of issues covering religion and violence, Australia-Indonesia relations, women and freedom in both religions, overcoming caricatures of Islam and mutual suspicions, ways in which both religions might give leadership and contribute to a better civil society, varieties of Islam and Christianity and responding to fundamentalist attitudes and differing perspectives on Jesus and Mohammad. The final event in Sydney, a Scholars Forum on the relevance of Islam and Christianity for Australia today, was a lively and engaging occasion co-hosted by the Islamic Studies and Research Academy (ISRA) and the ACC&C. You can watch a video of the Scholars Forum.

ACC&C Executive Director Rt Rev'd Prof Stephen Pickard said it was pleasing to see the events so well-attended.

"The events exceeded our expectations. Across each of the cities in which the dialogue was held, our cumulative audience was nearly 1,000 people," said Prof Pickard. "The topic clearly resonated with many in the context of current world events and I hope audiences went away better informed and able to play a more active role in their local context to foster positive relationships between people of different faiths and cultures."

read an account of the Adelaide event, or you can listen to a podcast of the Adelaide event. You can listen to Professors Haire and Azra in discussion with John Cleary from ABC Sunday Nights. To read the Canberra Times article.

Photo Gallery from the Adelaide event

Our thanks goes to Paul Klaric for providing these images.

The event details were as follows:

Join us to hear two eminent Christian and Muslim public scholars discuss key issues for a multi-cultural and multi-faith Australia. This important and timely dialogue will address Christian-Muslim relations in the Australian-Indonesian context and seek to build fresh understanding of how people of different faiths and cultures can grow together in understanding and appreciation of one another.


The Rev. Professor James Haire AC - Christian scholar and a Companion of the Order of Australia for his leadership in ecumenical and interfaith relations.

Professor Azyumardi Azra CBE - Prominent Indonesian Muslim scholar and public intellectual.

Admission to all events is FREE, however, you are encouraged to check the registration requirements for each venue as bookings may be essential.

Adelaide – Wednesday 2 September

6.30pm – 7.45pm

Allan Scott Auditorium, Hawke Building, UniSA City West campus

Brisbane - Thursday 3 September

7.00pm – 9.00pm

Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue, Griffith University, (Building N35), 170 Kessels Road, Nathan

Port Macquarie – Saturday 5 September

6.00pm – 8.00pm

The Glasshouse, Ross Family Studio, 32/40 Clarence Street

Bookings essential for this FREE event via the venue 02 6581 8888

Melbourne – Monday 7 September

6.30pm – 8.30pm

Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room, Level 1, Room 106, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne, 761 Swanston Street, PARKVILLE

Facilitated by distinguished journalist Jim Middleton

Register for this FREE event by emailing

Canberra – Wednesday 9 September

7.00pm – 9.00pm

The Chapel, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall Street, Barton

Facilitated by distinguished journalist Paul Bongiorno AM

Sydney – Friday 11 September

7.00pm - 9.00pm

Novotel Parramatta, 350 Church Street, Parramatta

Registration essential by emailing or (02) 9649 9040

The Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture and Charles Sturt University would like to acknowledge the following event partners:

Adelaide: University of South Australia, The Hawke Centre, International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding

Brisbane: Griffith University, Queensland Churches Together

Melbourne: National Centre for Excellence for Islamic Studies, Asia Institute

Sydney: Islamic Sciences and Research Academy Australia

With assistance from the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.