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‘A Common Word’ in the News

Defense of life and religious freedom in final declaration of Catholic-Muslim Forum

At the conclusion of the Catholic-Muslim Forum which took place at the
Vatican, the participants issued a joint statement underscoring, among
other themes, the importance of the defense of life as a gift from God
to each person, religious freedom and the promotion of common moral

The text states that Christians and Muslims believe that “human life
is a very precious gift from God for each person, and therefore it
should be preserved and honored in all of its stages.”

After noting that the dignity of the person lies in having been
created by God who is love, the participants of the forum underscored
that everyone has the right “to the full recognition of their own
identity and freedom as individuals, community and government, with the
support of civil legislation that guarantees their rights and full

Men and women have the same dignity, the statement continues, and
every individual and community has the right “to practice their own
religion in private and in public.”  It also underscores the right of
religious minorities “to be respected in their own convictions and
religious practices.  They also have the right to their own places of
worship and the images and symbols they consider sacred should be not
suffer derision or ridicule.”

“We affirm that no religion or its followers should be excluded from
society.  Each one should be able to give its vital contribution to the
wellbeing of society, in particular in service of those most in need,”
the statement went on.

Catholics and Muslims, it continued, should offer to their own
faithful a “healthy education in moral and religious, civil and human
values and should promote accurate information about the religion of

Furthermore, the statement says that “Catholics and Muslims are
called to be instruments of love and harmony between believers and for
all of humanity, renouncing any oppression, aggressive violence and
terrorist acts, in particular those perpetrated in the name of
religion, and to support the principle of justice for all.”

After encouraging the promotion of a better financial system to
confront the global crisis, the Forum participants recalled that it is
essential that young people “be well educated in their own religious
traditions and informed about other cultures and religions.”

They also said the creation of permanent Catholic-Muslim committee
is under consideration, and that the next meeting of the Forum would be
held in an Islamic country in two years.