Compromise not far away
Propaganda dictates that Islam has launched a holy war on America and Christianity. It appears that war lines are drawn between the two religious groups. I remember when Pope Benedict XVI referenced the crusades as the beginning of conflict between the two religions.
While walking through the current events section of a bookstore, the shelves contained volumes about the conflict between the religions, to those willing to believe, that Muslims hate Christians and seek to destroy them. So what happens when Muslim clerics draft a letter trying to reconcile the religions and declaring peace, not war, toward their Christian counterparts?
On Oct. 11, Jordan’s Royal Institute issued a letter entitled A Common Word Between Us and You. This letter was issued by 138 Muslim clerics coming from Sunni and Shiite sects as well as several diversified sub-sects. In an unprecedented showing, the Muslim community spoke with a unified voice. The clerics were able to put aside differences and speak in solidarity instead of several voices competing for attention.
The letter said that cooperation between Christianity and Islam was a prerequisite for world peace. Without this cooperation, it would only be detrimental to the world society. The letter asked for a mutual agreement. They claimed that as long as we do not persecute them, they will not attack us. As long as we respect their territory, they will respect our sovereignty. They are not encouraging attacks on America. They do not hate us or seek our destruction.
In fact, they even attempt to reconcile beliefs with Christians. The letter acknowledges that Allah in Islam is the same as Yahweh in Judaism who is the same as the Christian God. It lays the basis for understanding and future cooperation between the religions. They mention that both religions share the common descendent in Abraham and recognize that all three religions have the same God, just different prophets.
They even claim Christ as a prophet, just not the last prophet or the son of God. They do not see Christians as the unbelievers that it is made out to be. They see the religions as parallel lines stemming from the same origin.
This letter was sent to the pope, archbishop of Canterbury and every other major religious leader in Christianity. The letter urged all religious leaders to cooperate in making the world a more peaceful place. The once portrayed bad guys were the ones now asking for peace and stability. It will be interesting to see what happens when one side no longer vilifies the other for its benefit. In the end, this put pressure on the west to end imperialistic ambitions in the Middle East.
Christians now have to decide how to respond. In order to formulate a proper and powerful response, they must do several things. They must respond in unison and in kind and accepting this proverbial truce. If not, Christianity would overnight be accepted by the world as the bloody, violent and hostile religion. Both religions are now forced to cooperate through this one letter. Will the letter alone change anything? No. However, this opens dialogue between the two religions and their leaders, and with that anything is possible.