Response from Prof. Karen Armstrong

The initiative of the Common Word is sorely needed by the entire world. All too often, religion is asssociated with violence and intolerance, and the compassionate ethos, which lis at the heart of every major faith, gets pushed to the sidelines. The assertion of the principle of love, which is so central to both the Muslim and the Christian traditions, should be paradigmatic of the religious response to the fearful realities of our time. We must reclaim our traditions from the extremists. Unless the major faiths emphasize those teachings which insist upon the absolute holiness of the “other”, they will fail the test of the 21st century. The coming together of Muslims and Christians, who have such an unhappy history of hostility, is a beacon of hope and an example to the whole of humanity.

Karen Armstrong