Reuters is reporting on an “unprecedented” letter, signed by 138 Muslim scholars, sent to Pope Benedict, leaders of Orthodox Christian churches, Anglican leader Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the heads of the world alliances of the Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist and Reformed churches. The letter’s authors represent the Sunni, Shi’ite and Sufi schools of Islam, and state their belief that they represent the vast majority of Muslims.
… [The] scholars said finding common ground between the world’s biggest faiths was not simply a matter for polite dialogue between religious leaders.
“If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world’s inhabitants,” the scholars wrote.
“Our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake,” they wrote, adding that Islam and Christianity already agreed that love of God and neighbor were the two most important commandments of their faiths.
Relations between Muslims and Christians have been strained as al Qaeda has struck around the world and as the United States and other Western countries intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The article runs with a London dateline, and as such includes comments from Archbishop Williams:
Williams said he welcomed it as “indicative of the kind of relationship for which we yearn in all parts of the world.”
“The call to respect, peace and goodwill should now be taken up by Christians and Muslims at all levels and in all countries,” he said.
A Vatican official in Rome said the Roman Catholic Church would not comment until it had time to read the letter.
You can read the story here.
The open letter is available here at Islamica Magazine.
The full response of the Archbishop of Canterbury is here.