Following the completion of her BA in Arab Studies, Yafiah Katherine Randall spent some time living in Andalucia, Spain pursuing independent study of Al-Andalus and the philosopher-mystic, Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi (1165-1240). The inspiration and enthusiasm she felt for the history of convivencia in medieval Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain), and her ongoing interest in dialogue between the Abrahamic faiths, were pivotal in her decision to pursue postgraduate study. She completed an MA in Contemporary Religions and Spiritualities at Bath Spa University, UK and it was during that time that she met the team at Radio Salaam Shalom in Bristol and appeared as a guest speaker in five broadcasts of Abraham Nexus. The radio station was run voluntarily by Jews and Muslims of Bristol. Randall spoke on Sufism and on a range of issues relating to Israel and Palestine including the diverse grass roots activities for peace initiated by Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and the conflicting narratives of the Israeli War of Independence/Nakba in 1948. She enjoyed the group spirit of community between the Jews and Muslims working at the radio station and the openness and curiosity they all had about each other’s faiths and their experiences as minorities in British society. This experience contributed to her enthusiasm for the history of Jewish-Muslim relations and the situation in Israel and Palestine today which then became the topic for her doctoral thesis. When she discovered that there are Jews and Muslims engaging in Sufi practice together in Israel then she knew this was the topic she wanted to research and to investigate its potential contribution to grass roots reconciliation work. Yafiah Katherine Randall has designed an MA module on grass-roots peace initiatives in Israel and Palestine and is at present organizing an exhibition and question-time evening to publicize the work of these groups. The exhibition and the MA module are being presented through the Winchester Centre of Religions for Reconciliation and Peace where Randall is a Visiting Fellow.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Islamic Studies; Jewish-Muslim Relations; Interreligious Studies; conflict transformation
Yafiah enjoys reading, walking, travelling, and spending time with family. She feels most at home by the sea. She is interested in making her research accessible to an interested public through workshops that include various methods of experiential practice designed to increase good relations between the self and the other, by understanding better how we create our own identities, and the process of othering.