Between Desert and City: Building Churches in the Arabian Peninsula

20 okt 2020 10:15 20 okt 2020 12:00 ENG

Berit Thorbjørnsrud (UiO)

Church building is a controversial issue in the Arabian Peninsula. Churches should, in principle, be built in such as a way as to be unrecognizable as churches. Although generally built on land donated by the royal families, all churches are subject to restrictions regarding location and architecture and ordinances against making sounds. But why such a paradoxical policy?

Why subsidize churches and yet submit them to restrictions making them “invisible?” What do such anonymized churches really look like? Differing views among both Christians and Muslims concerning which architectural elements actually transform a building into a church nevertheless allow space for creative use of some Christian symbols. 


Join on Zoom here. 


Berit Thorbjørnsrud is professor at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo. 


This event is free and open to all. It is possible to attend both physically and digitally.

Please note, that according to the COVID-19 regulations all participants must keep a distance of at least one metre from each other and maintain good hand hygiene. We also need to have an overview of who is present at all times, so for those who attend physically, we will register their names and phone numbers and keep it for 10 days. You can sign up for the event via this link.

If you have any respiratory tract symptoms you should stay at home.

This lecture is organized by the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. 

Photo credit: Berit Thorbjørnsrud