01/29/2008, 00.00
INDIA – VATICAN – ISLAM
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In India Catholic scholars of Islam want to respond to the letter of the 138 Muslim scholars

by Nirmala Carvalho
In a meeting held in New Delhi some 80 experts studied and discussed the letter 138 Muslims scholars sent to the Pope in order to find an answer. They express their appreciation for the document seen as an important “theological platform for building bridges.” One participant suggested translating the letter into Urdu.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – In India Catholic experts on Christianity and Islam plan to write a reply to the letter 138 Muslim scholars wrote to the Pope and other Christian leaders in October 2007. The idea was discussed last 20 January by some 80 scholars interested in reflecting on the letter at a meeting held at St Xavier's School in New Delhi.

The event was organised by the Islamic Studies Association (ISA), an organisation founded in 1979 by the Commission for Dialogue and Ecumenism of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. The ISA’s membership includes Catholics involved in dialogue with the Muslim community.

Fr Victor Edwin, secretary of the Jesuit Secretariat for Dialogue, summed up for AsiaNews what was said and discussed at the meeting.

First he noted, participants highlighted the value of the letter “as a gift of Muslim leaders to all Christians who are interested in dialogue with Islam.”

Secondly, for Indian Catholic scholars the letter shows that “Muslims are interested in [a] deep relationship with Christians” and that they want to “work together for peace in the world.”

For this reason according to Father Edwin, the letter of the 138 scholars must be seen as a good “theological platform for building bridges.”

Jesuit Fr George Gispert-Sauch, who was also at the meeting, suggested the letter be translated into Urdu so that it can be “shared with Muslim friends and institutions” in India.

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