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Vatican urges response to Muslim call for religious dialogue

ROME — The Vatican wants to reply as rapidly as possible to a Muslim call for inter-faith dialogue recently sent to Christian leaders, a senior cleric there said Tuesday.

“I’m favorable to a rapid response to the letter,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told the religious information agency I-Media.

The letter, sent by 138 top Sunni and Shiite figures to 28 Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic leaders, was published October 11 to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

It called for a dialogue between Muslims and Christians, noting that both the Bible and the Koran stress the “primacy of love and devotion to God.”

Cardinal Tauran said he would petition Christian leaders attending a religious meeting for a collective response to the letter, which he judged sent a positive signal.

In February, Pope Benedict XVI called for more dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims.

His remarks came some five months after he sparked outrage in the Muslim world with remarks that were seen as linking Islam with violence.

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