Richard K. Gordon: "His calm, his expertise and other traits brought me closer to a spiritual understanding"

on The Egyptian Dominican priest Georges Anawati: A Christian and Islamic scholar in the service of dialogue

I was a student in Dr. Anawati's class on Islamic Philosophy at UCLA in the fall of 1972. Throughout the subsequent years his presence never left me.

I do not remember the content of our after-class meetings except for the intensity of his spirit and his insight into me as a budding scholar with an interest in his course.

Today I was having a conversation with a friend who is a very devout Christian. He has strong views about his faith and his views are equally strong when it comes to denying the authenticity of other faiths. In the course of our conversation I referenced Mustafa Akyol. You may know of his work.

Almost immediately after, I began thinking about Father Anawati. I thought of his calm, his expertise and other traits that brought me closer to a spiritual understanding. So strong was his continuing presence that I conducted a search and found the information above.

As a student I was unaware of the breadth of his accomplishments. It was truly an honour to have been in his physical presence. In Akyoi's book The Islamic Jesus there is a sentence that Father Anawati would say in talking about the Abrahamic religions concerning Jesus. Whether we are Jews Christians or Muslins we share a faith followed by him, or a faith built on him, or a faith that venerates him.