Religion Briefs

Catholics, Muslims agree on forum aimed at easing tensions

VATICAN CITY – Catholic and Muslims leaders announced a new Catholic-Muslim Forum to regularize dialogue between the two faiths and sooth lingering tensions sparked by a papal speech in late 2006.

The initiative’s first effort will be a two-day summit at the Vatican in November on the theme of “Love of God and Love of Neighbor” attended by 24 scholars and leaders from each side. A meeting with Pope Benedict XVI is expected to close the summit.

Plans call for the permanent talks to rotate every two years between Rome and predominantly Muslim countries.

Relations have been tense since September 2006, when Benedict seemed to link Islam with violence, and invoked a medieval text that called the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad “evil and inhuman.”