International Christian-Muslim meeting seeks common future

High-ranking Muslim and Christian leaders as well as scholars and interfaith practitioners will gather from 1-4 November 2010 for an international consultation on Christian and Muslim concerns.

The meeting will take place at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, home of the World Council of Churches and a number of other internationally-focused organisations.

The international consultation, entitled ‘Transforming Communities: Christians and Muslims Building a Common Future’, will seek to identify and address issues of common concern and provide guidance for co-operation between Muslims and Christians, including faith-inspired approaches for joint Christian-Muslim action.

A joint statement will be issued at the end of the consultation on 4 November during a press conference.

The consultation will open with keynote addresses by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad bin Talal, personal envoy and special advisor to His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Archbishop Anders Wejryd of the Church of Sweden.

Also participating in the consultation will be: the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit; Dr Muhammad Ahmed Sharif, General Secretary of the World Islamic Call Society; Dr Abdulrahman Al-Zayed representing the Muslim World League; and Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Al-Tashkiri, Secretary General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought.

The Rev Thomas Wipf, president of the Federation of the Swiss Protestant Churches and the Swiss Council of Religions, and Sheikh Yousef Ibram, imam of the Geneva mosque, will also be attending.

The consultation, which builds on the solid basis of past initiatives and achievements by a variety of organisations and networks, is a joint Christian-Muslim initiative in planning, funding and participation.

The conveners are the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Islamic Call Society, the Royal Aal al Bayt Institute and the Consortium of A Common Word.

"Christians and Muslims have a joint responsibility to contribute the very best of their theological, spiritual, and ethical resources for the common good of humanity", declare the organisers.

The group expects the consultation to "develop concrete ways of building a common future, in order to achieve more compassionate and just societies, based on equality, co-citizenship and mutual respect".

The group will also visit St Pierre’s Cathedral and the Islamic Cultural Center and mosque in Geneva on Thursday morning, where members of the group will meet with members of Geneva faith communities and the Geneva Interfaith Platform.

The 60 participants plus consultation guests will address three key issues in the present context of Muslim-Christian relations:

* Beyond Majority and Minority
* From Conflict to Compassionate Justice: Building ecologies of peace
* Learning to Overcome; formulating educational tools to resolve issues

The first days of the consultation, 1-3 November, will be closed to the media and public; however, at the end of each day a summary of the discussions will be made available.