London (AsiaNews) – “A Common Word between Us and You” is the title of a letter signed by 138 Muslim scholars sent to Benedict XVI and the leaders of all Christian Churches in order to promote greater understanding between the two faiths.
“Muslims and Christians together make up over half of the world’s population,” begins the 29-page letter that is available on the BBC website. “Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.” And, says the letter later on, “If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace.”
Released on the first anniversary of a letter by 38 Muslims scholars in response to the Pope’s lectio in Regensburg, this letter was signed by 138 Muslims scholars, including the secretary-general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, a member of the Committee of Senior Ulema of Saudi Arabia, the acting secretary of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, the secretary general of the Nahdhatul Ulama Consultative Council of Indonesia, the grand muftis of Egypt, Jordan , Bosnia, Russia, Croatia, Kosovo, Syria United Arab Emirates, Oman, the mufti of Istanbul, the head of the Fatwa Council of Yemen, ministers and former minister of religious affairs of Algeria, Sudan, Mauritania, Jordan and Morocco, the president of Al-Azhar University, and Iranian government officials and academics.
The letter highlights the similarities between the Bible and the Qur‘an, stating that their “differences [should] not cause hatred and strife,” stressing in particular one’s attitudes towards one’s “neighbours,” which includes all those who believe in the One God.
Hence, faith becomes the basis on which the scholars say coexistence ought to be promoted. They do not however mention the violence that is often carried out in the name of faith within Islam.