Letter Instils New Hope

On October 13, 138 Muslim scholars and leaders sent a letter to the world’s most influential Christian leaders, calling on them to join in making peace and harmony.

With Christians and Muslims constituting about 55 per cent of humanity, the very survival of the world depends on it and “our very eternal souls” are at stake if we fail to try.

Titled A Common Word between Us and You, the 29-page letter emphasised that Islam and Christianity have their two most foundational principles in common: the love of God and the love of one’s neighbour.

This, the letter insisted, means “the basis for . . . peace and understanding already exists”.

Muslim factions which otherwise agree on nothing were able to agree on this.

The timing was symbolic: at the end of the sacred month of Ramadan, and about a year after various Muslims reacted with despicable violence to the Pope’s now infamous Regensburg address in which he quoted a medieval text describing Islam as “evil and inhuman”.

It is encouraging that the Pope replied to express “deep appreciation” for the letter, inviting a delegation of the signatories to meet him.

It is not the biggest news story of 2007, but it gives me hope.