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‘A Common Word’ in the News

BWA responds to letter from Muslim leaders

Washington, D.C. (BWA)–The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has issued a
formal response to “A Common Word Between Us and You,” a letter written
by 138 Muslim leaders and scholars that appealed for Christians and
Muslims to cooperate in engendering peace and religious freedom.

Upon receipt of the letter, which was dated October 13, 2007, and sent
to 27 named world Christian leaders, including BWA President David
Coffey, BWA leaders welcomed the letter and indicated that the BWA
would make an official response after consultation with Baptists from
around the world.

Coffey, in a personal response to the letter sent October 16, 2007,
said, “I welcome the letter from the Muslim scholars and leaders and
commend it as a groundbreaking initiative which could make a major
contribution to a better understanding in Christian-Muslim relations,
the cause of religious liberty and global peace.”

In preparation of the formal response, BWA General Secretary Neville
Callam sought comments from Baptist scholars and leaders, including
those living in countries with a Muslim majority, regarding how the BWA
might respond to the letter.

The comments received were made available to Paul Fiddes of England,
Chair of the BWA Commission on Doctrine and Interchurch Cooperation,
and Regina Claas of Germany, Chair of the BWA Commission on Freedom and
Justice, who were invited to lead a forum at the BWA Annual Gathering
in Prague, Czech Republic, in July 2008. At the forum, participants
considered the issues raised by the Muslim letter and made
contributions to the BWA formal response.

Armed with the insights gained from the solicited comments and the
forum, Fiddes, Claas and a team of Baptist scholars and leaders crafted
what eventually became the formal BWA response.

Coffey and Callam sent the BWA response to Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad
Bin Talal of Jordan, President of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for
Islamic Thought, on December 19, 2008. In their letter to the Prince,
the BWA leaders said, “We have listened carefully to a wide range of
responses from our diverse Baptist family, and taken into account the
views of our friends and colleagues in other Christian traditions, and
believe that this response reflects the mainstream of Baptist thought
on the important issues you raised in ‘A Common Word.’”

“As Baptists, we are aware of the need for better understanding between
Christians and Muslims and our response represents an effort to give
expression to this commitment,” wrote Coffey and Callam.

The formal response to “A Common Word Between Us and You” is available on the BWA website, http://www.bwanet.org/default.aspx?pid=979.

Source: BWA release