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Thomas Ryan, CSP Answers:
Question: I saw some reference to “A Common Word” letter from Muslims addressed to Christians. What’s the “common word” refering to?
In October 2007 a group of 138 leading Muslim scholars from many parts of the world presented an “Open Letter” titled “A Common Word Between Us and You” to Christian leaders calling for peace and understanding between these two religious communities on the basis of the core principles of Islam and of Christianity. Every major Islamic country or region in the world is represented in the message, which is addressed to the leaders of all the world’s churches and to all Christians everywhere.
The main message of their text is that the most fundamental common ground between Islam and Christianity, and the best basis for future dialogue and understanding, is the love of God and the love of the neighbor.
Never before have Muslims delivered this kind of definitive consensus statement on Christianity. The signatories have adopted the position of respecting the Christian scripture and calling Christians to be more, not less, faithful to it.
A Common Word Between Us not only gave a starting point for cooperation, but did so on the most solid theological ground possible: the commandments described by Jesus in the Bible, and the teachings of the Qu’ran and the Prophet.
The Common Word letter has resulted thus far in four international Muslim-Christian conferences, among them the Catholic-Muslim Forum, formed by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and a delegation from the Muslim signatories of A Common Word who met in Rome November 4-6, 2008. Twenty-four participants and five advisors from each religion took part in the meeting. The theme of the Seminar was “Love of God, Love of Neighbor”.
So, as you can see, there are some positive things happening! You can read the Common Word statement and see the various responses to it from Christians around the world at www.acommonword.com