Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies (MA-RIS)



First Advisor/Committee Member

David Leong, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Missiology


Racism; Race—Religious aspects; African Americans—Race identity; Whites—Race identity; Black theology; Islam—Relations—Christianity; Christianity and other religions—Islam; Religion—Comparative studies; Rouse, Carolyn Moxley, 1965- ; Jackson, Sherman A.; Khabeer, Su'ad Abdul, 1978- ; Cone, James H., 1938-2018; Jennings, Willie James, 1961- ; Carter, J. Kameron, 1967-


This study explores and compares theological responses to racialization in the religious traditions of Islam and Christianity in the United States. Racialization here is broadly defined as the historic way in which people groups, social structures, and institutions are ascribed meaning and hierarchy based on cultural markers of ethnicity. Within the context of racialization, racism is a social construct that is used to subjugate certain ethnic groups based on physical traits and keep others in power; a system of advantages and disadvantages. The works of three Black American theologians from Islam: Carolyn Moxley Rouse, Sherman A. Jackson, and Su’ad Abdul Khabeer are analyzed, as are the works of three Black American Christian theologians: James Cone, Willie James Jennings, and J Kameron Carter. A theological synthesis of these theologians from different traditions points to common ground and themes between Black American Islam and Christianity, and this synthesis and comparison of phenomena in these two religions points to opportunity for interfaith collaboration and constructive dialogue that moves communities of faith toward the dismantling of racism in the United States. By identifying areas of common ground between Islam and Christianity, there is hope that these two religious traditions can move beyond shared social justice activism and into a place where the conversation is authentic, relational, and generative. Likewise, the comparison offers insight into the ways in which White people of these traditions can constructively address racism in their lives.


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