Catholic-Muslim Forum second edition held in Jordan

The second edition of the Catholic-Muslim Forum was held in Al-Maghtas, south of the Jordanian capital Amman (Baptism Site) from November 21 to 23. This meeting between Catholic and Muslim senior representatives was entitled “Reason, Faith and Human Person: Christian and Muslim perspectives.” A final communiqué will be published. It will present a summary of discussions held between various religious leaders, thinkers and teachers during working sessions. The theme of this year largely echoes Pope Benedict XVI’s speech at Ratisbonne in 2006 which was focused on the relationship between the two concepts of faith and reason.

The meeting took place three years after the first edition of this forum which was held in Rome from November 4 to 6, 2008. This responded to a letter written by 138 Muslim scholars in October 2007 addressed to Benedict XVI and other Christian church leaders providing “a common word,” just after the famous Ratisbonne speech.

Muslim and Catholic scientists, thinkers and men from 18 Islamic and non Islamic Arab countries attend the forum this year at the invitation of Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad Bin Talal. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue led the Catholic delegation. 24 people are part of it including members of the Congregation, local church leaders and experts. Bishop Salim Sayegh, Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan represented the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, H.B.Fouad Twal. Catholic Speakers included the Italian philosopher Vittorio Possenti, member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, author of numerous books on political thought, ethics and ontology, and Father François Bousquet, rector of the Church of St. Louis des Français in Rome, who worked extensively on Christian theology of religions and interreligious dialogue. On Muslim side, Sheikh Habib Ali Al-Jifri was present; Dr. Abdelhakim Winter (with Dr. Gerhard Luf) intervened on the issue of individual in Islam and Catholicism. Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), participated in discussions and explained the ISESCO visionfor individual through the Koran and the Sunnah and called for the promotion of common values to followers of revealed religions for the establishment of peace.

Values of moderation, tolerance and mutual respect

His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan received members of the Forum at the Hashemite Royal Office on November 22nd. During the hearing, the Jordanian monarch was delighted with the efforts of the Forum in promoting dialogue between followers of Islamic and Christian religions spreading values of moderation, tolerance and mutual respect. His Majesty King Abdullah II encouraged participants to transmit their experiences and ideas on coexistence and common values with revealed religions to their societies. The King also stressed the importance of Jerusalem as a symbol of religious coexistence in the region for present and future generations.

Source: Christophe Lafontaine, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Nov. 23, 2011