In November 2007, 138 Muslim scholars and clerics presented a declaration of common ground between Christianity and Islam, called “A Common Word Between Us and You,” hoping to create a basis for future dialog.
At the declaration’s “official” website (www.acommonword.com), a summary states, “Whilst Islam and Christianity are obviously different religions—and whilst there is no minimising some of their formal differences—it is clear that the Two Greatest Commandments are an area of common ground and a link between the Qur’an, the Torah and the New Testament.”
Pope Benedict XVI’s response was guarded but warm. “Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christian and Muslims,” he wrote in a letter to one of the declaration’s signatories, Prince Ghazi, “we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely belief in the one God, provident Creator and universal Judge who at the end of time will deal with each person according to his or her actions. We are all called to commit ourselves totally to him and obey his sacred will.” [11-27-07]
A year later, however, Pope Benedict XVI hosted the first Catholic-Muslim forum at the Vatican. Among 15 points of common concern, forum participants agreed that individuals must be free to choose in matters of conscience and to practice their religion in private and public, with the Vatican emphasizing that Christian churches must enjoy the same rights in Muslim countries that Muslims enjoy in the West.
There has also been a Special United Nations General Assembly on Interfaith Dialogue in November 2008, convened to discuss a “Culture of Peace” among Christians and Muslims. According to Rayed Krimly, special envoy of Saudi Arabia, the meeting seeks “to send a unified clear message that the world community is in consensus in promoting interfaith dialogue and speaking against extremism, intolerance, and terrorism.”
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