The Archbishop of Canterbury – the leader of the world’s Anglicans – has sent a letter to Christian and Muslim leaders inviting them to a conference in October to tackle religious violence and freedom to worship.
The open letter, posted on Archbishop Rowan Williams’s website, acknowledges that certain parts of Christianity may be “difficult” or “offensive” for Muslims.
Archbishop Williams wrote of his desire to eventually break “the current cycles of violence, to show the world that faith and faith alone can truly ground a commitment to peace which definitively abandons the tempting but lethal cycle of retaliation in which we simply imitate each other’s violence”.
He acknowledged however that while the meeting would initiate a dialogue, it would not lead to an agreed understanding of God, because this “would fail to acknowledge the reality of the differences that exist and that have been the cause of deep and – at times in the past – even violent division”.
In his letter, Archbishop Williams also admitted the Christian belief in the Trinity – the belief that God is comprised of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – could be “difficult, sometimes offensive, to Muslims”.
His letter was written in response to one by Muslim leaders who wrote to Christian religious figures calling for a dialogue to help the two religions better understand each other.