Pope Urges Cooperation With Muslims

Pope Benedict XVI has called on Christians and Muslims to overcome their misunderstandings, urging more cooperation between both faiths.

“There is a great and vast field in which we can act together in defending and promoting the moral values which are part of our common heritage,” the Pope addressed the gathering of Catholic and Muslim scholars at the Vatican Thursday.

“Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the often distorted images of the other which even today can create difficulties in our relations,” he said on the third and last day of Catholic-Muslim Forum.

The Forum brought together leaders from both faiths at the Vatican to discuss common points as well as their differences of opinions.

It was the first Catholic-Muslim Forum, but the third conference of Muslims with Christians after the July talks with the United States Protestants and the Anglicans in October.

At the end of the forum, the leaders also issued a joint declaration, in which they agreed to work together to stop any violent or terrorist action in the name of religion, Reuters reported.

“We profess that Catholics and Muslims are called to be instruments of love and harmony among believers, and for humanity as a whole, renouncing any oppression, aggressive violence and terrorism, especially that committed in the name of religion, and upholding the principle of justice for all,” said the statement.

The forum was organized two years after the Pope angered Muslims across the world in 2006 by calling Islam violent and irrational.

Muslim scholars then invited Christian churches to a dialogue at the time to foster mutual respect through a better understanding of each other’s beliefs. Their manifesto, ‘A Common Word,’ argued that both faiths shared the core principles of love of God and neighbor.