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Our readers asked:

What is the Muslim Letter “A Common Word” About?

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

The Author : Thomas Ryan, CSP
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP, directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington, D.C.
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  • Lohnock

    probably should not have writetn that, unless these folks trust the fact that Christ died on a tree, was buried and rose again and his shed blood paid the price for all our sins, past, present and future they will face a worse fate for eternity. I did find it interesting that she stated he was trying to place her on a cross, wonder what she believes about a cross, andy

  • Adam

    Randy, your comment perfectly highlights why dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims can often be so difficult. You are presented with evidence showing Muslims expressing goodwill towards Christians and you’re first though to say that Muslims frequently lie. How can two groups talk if they cannot trust each other enough to start a conversation?

    Additionally, I find it interesting that you go from providing sources to back up your first two points, to providing no source to back up your last paragraph and it’s groundless accusation.

  • Randy

    Unfortunately you can’t always believe what Muslims say. Islam permits it’s faithful members to lie and deceive unbelievers in order to advance it’s cause. This is known as taqiyya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqiyya).

    It can best be summed up by the words of Mohammad himself, “War is deceit.” (http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/052.sbt.html#004.052.267).

    The goal of Islam is simply world conquest for Allah. This belief is not held by a “tiny minority of extremists” but by the vast majority of the Muslim faith.

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