11/04/2008, 00.00
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Love of God at center of first seminar between Vatican and Islamic scholars

The meeting has its origin in the "Letter of the 138." Under examination, the theological and spiritual foundations spoken of in the document by the Muslims, but also the dignity of the person and mutual respect, important to the Christian world.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Love of God, love of neighbor" is the theme of the first seminar organized by the Catholic-Muslim Forum, which begins today and continues until November 6.

The meeting was organized by the pontifical council for interreligious dialogue and by Muslim representatives, following the open letter addressed on October 13, 2007, to Benedict XVI and other leaders of Churches and ecclesial communities by 138 Muslim figures, and the reply given on November 19, 2007, in the name of the pope, by the cardinal secretary of state.

The seminar - attended by 29 people on each side, including experts, religious authorities, and advisors - will be developed along two lines of elaboration: the first day will be dedicated to "theological and spiritual foundations" - which correspond to the guidelines of the letter of the 138 - while the second day will be centered on "the dignity of the human person and mutual respect," which represents a concern more significant for the Catholic side. On each of these sub-themes, there will be addresses from the Catholic side and the Muslim side, which will form the basis of the following discussions.

For the third day, a papal audience is scheduled for seminar participants in the morning. In the afternoon, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, there will be a public session during which the joint declaration approved at the end of the session will be released.

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