More than 130 Muslim scholars have written to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders urging greater understanding between the two faiths. The letter says that world peace could depend on improved relations between Muslims and Christians.
It identifies the principles of accepting only one god and living in peace with one’s neighbours as common ground between the two religions.
The letter coincides with the Eid al-Fitr celebrations to mark the end of Ramadan.
One of the signatories, Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, a senior adviser at the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme at Cambridge University, told the BBC that the document should be seen as a landmark. “There are Sunnis, Shias, Ibadis, Ismailian and Jaafari schools, so it’s a consensus,” he said.
Professor David Ford, director of the programme, said the letter was unprecedented. “If sufficient people and groups heed this statement and act on it then the atmosphere will be changed into one in which violent extremists cannot flourish,” he said in a statement.
The letter was signed by prominent Muslim leaders, politicians and academics, including the Grand Muftis of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Russia, Croatia, Kosovo and Syria, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the former Grand Mufti of Egypt and the founder of the Ulema Organisation in Iraq.
The Holy See‘s Pontificial Council of Interreligious Dialogue responds:
Dear Muslim Friends,
It gives me special pleasure to send you for the first time friendly and warmest greetings from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on the occasion of your joyful feast of ‘Id al-Fitr, with which the month-long fasting and prayer of Ramadan ends.
This month is always an important time for the Muslim community and gives to each individual member a new strength for their personal, family and social existence.
It matters that all of us witness to our religious beliefs with a life increasingly integrated and in conformity with the Creator’s plan, a life concerned with serving our brothers and sisters in ever increasing solidarity and fraternity with members of other religions and all men of good will, in the desire to work together for the common good.
Nice to see these guys chilling out for a change.