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Department of Religious Studies

Mr. Yousef Hreimi

Mr. Yousef Hreimi, a Muslim from Bethlehem, has been a professor of Islam in the Religious Studies Department since 2000. He is a unique persona at the University, not only because he is a practicing Muslim who teaches Islam to Christian students, but also because he has made it his personal mission to build individual relations with non-Muslims since his youth, something Mr. Hreimi claims is rare for Muslims. Because Mr. Hreimi grew up in the Rachel's Tomb area in the Bethlehem District, he was exposed to and interacted with Christian neighbors and Jewish pilgrims on a daily basis. For Mr. Hreimi, having friends of different faiths was normal. While he was still a bachelor's student at Bethlehem University, Mr. Hreimi took a position teaching Islam to Christian students enrolled in the Notre Dame program at the Ecumenical Center in Tantur near Bethlehem. After obtaining his Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard University and a second Masters in International Peace Studies from Notre Dame University in the United States, Mr. Hreimi was hired to teach Islam at Bethlehem University. "I look at Bethlehem University as my second home. It has been a part of me for years and has made me who I am," Mr. Hreimi said. "It was a dream for me to be a part of this University's faculty and academic community." He feels that the Department makes a concerted effort at including Muslims in its curriculum, whether they are students or faculty members, citing his position as an example.

Mr. Hreimi has lectured on Islam in several educational institutions in Bethlehem and abroad and makes a point to participate in conferences that address the issue of inter-religious dialogue and relations with non-Muslims. Positive passages in the Koran about Christians and Muslims give him the reassurance and courage to continue his challenging work. "I feel like I am living out these verses." Mr. Hreimi has also worked in support of human rights for refugees in Nablus and he guided international teams in negotiations between conflicting parties.

 


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