“New Attitude” Noted in Muslim-Christian Relations

Pontifical Institute for Islamic Studies Responds to Open Letter

ROME, OCT. 29, 2007 (Zenit.org).- A letter sent this month by scholars of Islam to Christian leaders shows that a new attitude is emerging in Muslim-Christian relations, according to an institute for Islamic studies in Rome.

The Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies made this affirmation Thursday in a statement that responds to the letter sent Oct. 11 by 138 Muslim scholars to Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders.

The response titled “A Common Word Between Us and You” noted that the letter sent by the scholars was “a highly significant event,” and praised the wide array of signatories representing Muslims of every continent.

The text of the pontifical institute was signed by Father Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, rector, Father Etienne Renaud, dean of studies, and three professors.

The letter sent by the Muslim scholars, noted the pontifical institute, did “not seek refuge in a convenient one-sided protest,” but rather placed “themselves as partners within humanity.”

The response said that a fundamental point of the open letter sent by the Muslims was common ground, in particular the commandment to love one’s neighbor: “Only this can guarantee success in a genuine relationship between culturally and religiously diverse communities.”

“In addition,” the letter continues, “as faith always goes together with good works, as the Koran never fails to repeat, […] love of God is inseparable from love of neighbor.”

The text sent by Muslim scholars referred to various Christian texts of the Gospel, and the pontifical institute noted, “This is evidence of deep respect and genuine attentiveness to others, while at the same time of a true scientific spirit. In this respect also, we note the emergence of a new attitude.”

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