Dialogue with major organizations representing the American Muslim community began in 1987. Following a decade of collaboration and the building of a network of friendships, the CEIA three regional dialogues: the Midwest with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and local Islamic communities that began in 1996; the Mid-Atlantic with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and local Islamic communities that began in 1998; and the West Coast with the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California (ISCOSC), the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County (IECOC) and local Islamic communities that began in 1999.
Beginning in 2012, the three regional dialogues would convene the National Muslim-Catholic Plenary, a format that eventually matured into a single national dialogue in May of 2015. This major development occurred with a unanimous vote of the plenary assembled at the Catholic University of America to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate. While the three dialogues continue in their respective regions, the USCCB has shifted its sponsorship to the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue (NCMD), which has been meeting annually since 2016.
Over the years, the dialogues have discussed issues related to theology as well as common pastoral and societal concerns. The wide variety of topics include discussions of revelation, poverty, sacred texts, extremism, marriage, and religious prejudice.
The current co-chairs of the NCMD are Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan of Charlotte, NC and His Eminence Blase Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago. Dr. Anthony Cirelli staffs this dialogue for the SEIA.