Vatican City, 15 Dec. (AKI) – The 11th annual inter-faith dialogue
conference organised between the Vatican and the Libyan-based World
Islamic Call Society got under way in Rome on Monday. The theme of this
year’s conference is ‘Responsibility of leaders in times of crisis’.
Catholic and Muslim scholars are attending the gathering, which is is
taking place until Wednesday
A senior Vatican cardinal, Jean-Louis Tauran (photo), head of the
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is leading a delegation
of twelve Catholic experts attending the talks.
The World Islamic Call Society’s Secretary General, Mohamed Ahmed
Sherif, is heading the 12-man strong Muslim delegation to the talks.
The conference is organised in five sessions, centred on three
themes: religious responsibility; cultural and social responsibility;
and the search for inter-faith dialogue in times of crisis. It will
conclude on Wednesday when participants are received by Pope Benedict
The World Islamic Call Society is a non-profit entity made up of
over 250 Muslim organisations from around the world. Founded in 1972,
its stated mission is to bridge gaps among religions and bringing them
closer by promoting interfaith dialogue as well as to promote moderate
Tauran last month led landmark talks at the Vatican between top
Muslim scholars and Catholic officials aimed at easing tensions between
the world’s two largest faiths.
Pope Benedict in 2006 angered Muslims with a speech implying Islam
was violent and irrational. In response, 138 Muslim scholars invited
Christian churches to open new dialogue to promote respect and better
understanding of each other’s beliefs.
A year earlier, deadly protests broke out in Muslim countries after
a Danish daily printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed which were
republished around the world. Over 50 people died in the clashes.
There are around two billion Christians worldwide, just over half of them Catholic, and 1.3 billion Muslims