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‘A Common Word’ in the News

Muslim leaders call for accord with Christian world

138 of world’s most senior Muslim leaders write to heads of Christian churches proposing cooperation in creating peace in world.

WASHINGTON/DUBAI – In a dramatic and groundbreaking display of inter-religious solidarity, 138 of the world’s most senior Muslim leaders have written to the heads of all Christian churches proposing a solid base upon which the two global faiths can cooperate in creating peace and understanding in the world.

The basis of the letter is the shared belief of both Muslims and Christians in the principals of love of one God and love of the neighbour. It is hoped that the recognition of this common ground will provide the followers of both faiths a shared understanding that will serve to diffuse tensions around the world.

With over a half of the world’s population consisting of Muslims and Christians, the letter’s authors believe that meaningful world peace can only come from peace and justice between these two faiths.

As such, it represents a truly authoritative call for tolerance, understanding and moderation from some of the world’s most influential Islamic leaders and thinkers. In bringing together Muslims from around the world, and from both the Sunni and Shi’a, Salafi and Sufi traditions, it also marks an historic achievement in terms of Islamic unity.

The letter has been received by the heads of all Christian denominations, including Pope Benedict XVI as head of the Catholic Church and the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as head of the Anglican Church. The global heads of the Lutheran and Methodist churches in America, leaders of the Orthodox Church and Eastern Churches have also been addressed, as have “Leaders of Christian Churches, everywhere.”

“Post 9/11, a common question is where are the moderate Muslim voices? This historic document is a crystal clear message of peace and tolerance from 138 Muslim leaders from across the Islamic world,” said John L. Esposito, University Professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.

The driving force in the creation of the letter is the Royal Academy which is based in Jordan. Last year, members of the Royal Academy organised and sent an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI from 38 Muslim scholars.

“For centuries there have been theological contentions between Christianity and Islam that have had vast political implications. As there is so much need for mutual understanding and accord, it is essential to provide a solution to these contentions through deeper appreciations and comprehension of the position of the other,” said Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies at The George Washington University and President of the Foundation of Traditional Studies. “This document, prepared on the basis of profound knowledge of Islam and the best of intentions to extend a hand of friendship to Christianity, is signed by major scholars across the spectrum of Islamic thought. It is a very important step taken by Muslims to bring about better understanding between themselves and their Christian brothers and sisters, thereby assisting in that crucial task of creating harmony among religions and peoples, the task to which all those who are seriously concerned with the future of humanity must dedicate themselves”.

The letter now being sent to all Christian leaders, based on a close study of both the Bible and the Holy Qur’an, is intended by its 138 signatories as an open invitation to Christians to unite with Muslims over what is most essential to their respective faiths – the commandments of love.

The Royal Academy is an international Islamic non-governmental, independent institute headquartered in Amman Jordan. It brings together 100 of the world’s leading Muslim scholars and is part of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. This article is distributed by the Common Ground News Service and can be accessed at GCNews. It originally appeared in aalalbayt.org.

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/culture/?id=22755

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