Ali Aiyub, a Muslim, is the director of the Silsilah Dialogue Institute. He considers the Open Letter a milestone in the history of Islam in the modern world, comparable to the Second Vatican Council, since it pushes Muslims towards dialogue in today’s chaotic world.
Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – The Open Letter 138 Muslim intellectuals wrote to the Pope and other Christian leaders is indirectly addressed to Muslims because it calls on “Muslims to rethink and to re-educate ourselves about our own Islamic,” said Ali Aiyub in a “reflection” sent to AsiaNews. Mr Aiyub, who is Muslim, is the director of the Silsilah Dialogue Institute, whose president is Fr Sebastiano D’Ambra, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).
“For me as a Muslim,” Aiyub writes, “I consider the Open Letter a milestone in the history of Islam in the contemporary world. I would liken it to Vatican II, a revolution within the Catholic Church’s teachings to respond to the signs of the time. This Open Letter serves as bedrock to drumbeat our local interfaith dialogue as path to peace.”
This document is “a sign of hope and an inspiration to commit myself as a Muslim in the service of dialogue in today’s chaotic world where religion, as has been done since time immemorial, is misused to legitimize selfish motives.”
Indeed the letter “calls believers to rekindle and relive our roots, our respective belief system, as the basis for convergence to face the challenges–conflict in the world in its different manifestations [like the] north and south divides and the destruction of Mother Earth due to a mindset which sees nature as something that has to be conquered and exploited, not anymore for human needs but to satisfy human greed.”
“Unfortunately, in our midst, there are people who, desperately seeking paradise, bring hell into this world, to paraphrase Ziauddin Sardar, a renowned contemporary Muslim scholar.”
“When I say to anybody the Islamic greeting Assalamu alaykum (peace be upon you), it means, that person is safe from my intention, my words and my actions. There and then, we could truly say, we love God and we love our neighbours! And from there, we could go to a more profound level of relationship; not anymore just mere tokens and rhetoric, but concretely manifested in our reaching out with open heart to internalize—that your blood is my blood, your flesh is my flesh, your home is my home, your place is my place, your cry is my cry, your laughter is my laughter, and so on and so forth as inhabitants of this beautiful planet.”
PHOTO: Father D’Ambra and the Muslim group discuss the Open Letter