On Friday, which was the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Fitr, a letter from 138 international Muslim leaders was sent to more than two dozen Christian leaders. The 15-page letter, plus another 10 pages or so of footnotes, “A Common Word Between Us and You,” sets out two principles the two faiths have in common. Using numerous citations from the Qur’an and the Bible, the document makes the case that the two faiths share love of God and love of neighbor and that they need not be opposed to each other.
Here’s a quote near the end of the letter: “If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world
cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world’s inhabitants. Thus our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake. And to those who nevertheless relish conflict and destruction for their own sake or reckon that ultimately they stand to gain through them, we say that our very eternal souls are all also at stake if we fail to sincerely make every effort to make peace and come together in harmony.”
Theologians may debate the merits of the argument and cynics no doubt will question the motives of the letter-writers, but at the very least it is a public-relations achievement for Muslim leaders. They can point to it as a way of extending an olive branch to Christians, many of whom have exhibited hostility toward them.
Via the Washington Post, you can read the entire document here.