The Department of Comparative Religion was established on December 1, 1999 with Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam as the Chair. The department was renamed as the Department of World Religions in 2000.
The department offers a four-year B.A. Honours and a one-year M.A. course. A two-year M.Phil programme and three year Ph.D. programme are also offered. Research areas and fields of interest include Indian philosophy, Islam and Indian Religions specially Hinduism and Buddhism, Japanese and Chinese Religions, North American Religions, History of Religion, religious Traditions and Movements, Philosophy of Religions, Religions of Indigenous Groups, Women in Religion, New Religious Movements, Comparative Religion between Islam, Judaism and Christianity, Mormons and Muslims. Scholars and eminent educationists from home and abroad frequently visit the department to hold seminars on the academic study of religion. Dr. Joseph T. O'Connell, Professor Emeritus of the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, Canada is associated with the department as visiting faculty. The department has a well-equipped library with a rich collection.
including dramatic performances and screening of documentaries on Human Rights, HIV/AIDS, Peace and Justice, Gender-based Violence, Tribal Culture etc. are organized on different occasions. There was a time: When religionists, precisely because of their own convictions, were unable to cooperate with each other. But the time has changed to a great extent.
Now religionists, in spite of historical differences, must seek to unite all men for the attainment of world peace. Unless the peoples of faith come together anti-religious people will gain the upper hand. And this may lead to the further breaking up of the moral fiber of the human society. It is high time when people belonging to different religious traditions should cooperate with each other in order to contribute to the cause of peace for mankind. It goes without saying that this can be and should done through knowledge, dialogue and demonstration of the fact that love, compassion, selflessness and the inner truthfulness have ultimately greater power than hatred, enmity and self-interest.
Though all the religions of the world teach love, preach sympathy for others and encourage man to exercise utmost self-restraint and have most profoundly been a source of inspiration for the highest good of mankind, the world today is torn by conflicts, enmity and religious hatred. In this predicament a peaceful society is impossible unless people belonging to different faiths understand each other better. This prompted Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam of the Department of Philosophy to establish a Department of Comparative Religion. He, along with Dr. Abdul Jalil Mia, Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Philosophy, started the process in 1981. Having been extremely frustrated, Dr. Jalil gave up the hope after few years, but Dr. Islam kept on insisting. Due to Dr. Islam’s serious endeavor for about 18 years, the Dhaka University authority finally approved his proposals and established the Department of Comparative Religion on December 1, 1999 and Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam was appointed its Chairman. It may be mentioned that Dr. Islam was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy and also Director, G.C. Dev Centre for Philosophical Studies prior to his joining the newly established Department of Comparative Religion. At present he is also Director of the Centre for Advanced Researches in Humanities of this University.
However, this Department was renamed as the Department of World Religions on November 7, 2000. Immediately after the department was established, the Secretary General of the UNO Mr. Kofi Anan and Pope John Paul II congratulated the then Vice Chancellor Prof. A. K. Azad Chowdhury for this sincere cooperation to establish a Department of this kind. The name of the Department was changed in 2008 and the present name is Department of World Religions and Couture.