‘Protect each other’, says Muslim in talks with Christians

The coordinator of a Muslim initiative to promote common ground with Christians says that leaders of the two religions have a duty to protect adherents of the other faith against followers of their own.

"For both our religions harming religious minorities among us is evil, is absolutely forbidden and is ultimately a rejection of God’s love and a crime against God himself," Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad Bin Talal of Jordan said on the opening day of a 1-4 November 2010 meeting of Muslim and Christian leaders and scholars in Geneva.

Speaking at the Ecumenical Centre, which houses the World Council of Churches and other international organisations, Ghazi urged leaders of the two faiths to, "defend the other against followers of our own religion when the other is weak and oppressed, especially in a social minority context".

The remarks come in the wake of the appalling tragedy in Iraq, where anti-Christian extremists occupied a Catholic Church on Sunday, taking over 100 congregants hostage, and a failed military operation to storm the building and free them resulted in 50 deaths and many more injuries.

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]