Benedict XVI has called on Christians and Muslims to overcome their
misunderstandings, urging more cooperation between both faiths.
“There is a great and vast field in which we can act together in
defending and promoting the moral values which are part of our common
heritage,” the Pope addressed the gathering of Catholic and Muslim
scholars at the Vatican Thursday.
“Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the
often distorted images of the other which even today can create
difficulties in our relations,” he said on the third and last day of
The Forum brought together leaders from both faiths at the Vatican
to discuss common points as well as their differences of opinions.
It was the first Catholic-Muslim Forum, but the third conference of
Muslims with Christians after the July talks with the United States
Protestants and the Anglicans in October.
At the end of the forum, the leaders also issued a joint
declaration, in which they agreed to work together to stop any violent
or terrorist action in the name of religion, Reuters reported.
“We profess that Catholics and Muslims are called to be instruments
of love and harmony among believers, and for humanity as a whole,
renouncing any oppression, aggressive violence and terrorism,
especially that committed in the name of religion, and upholding the
principle of justice for all,” said the statement.
The forum was organized two years after the Pope angered Muslims
across the world in 2006 by calling Islam violent and irrational.
Muslim scholars then invited Christian churches to a dialogue at
the time to foster mutual respect through a better understanding of
each other’s beliefs. Their manifesto, ‘A Common Word,’ argued that
both faiths shared the core principles of love of God and neighbor.