Muslim call to Peace!

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It’s amazing how good news so often goes unnoticed! I was browsing through “Catholic” websites and news sources when I read about the Vatican’s reaction to the recent letter from Muslim leaders.  A reaction to what? What letter? After a little bit of digging I discovered that on October 13th, 38 world Muslim scholars had written an “open letter” to Pope Benedict XVI (aka B16) and other leaders of the Christian Church.

 The letter is entitled “A Common Word between Us and You” and reflects on the fact that Jews, Christians and Muslims share a common source in the Word of God. That Word compells all people of faith to love God and to love their neighbour.  The Muslim leaders invite all Christians to come together on the basis of these two commandments of love.

In the letter they state:

Finding common ground between Muslims and Christians is not simply a matter for polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders. Christianity and Islam are the largest and second largest religions in the world and in history. Christians and Muslims reportedly make up over a third and over a fifth of humanity respectively. Together they make up more than 55% of the world’s population, making the relationship between these two religious communities the most important factor in contributing to meaningful peace around the world. If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world’s inhabitants. Thus our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake.

This is truly a bold move on the part of Muslim leaders that should be welcomed and celebrated. It reminds us of the need to come to know one another, including our differences, but also our common values.  God willing their prayer for peace will be heard.

Consult www.acommonword.com for more on the letter and the efforts of these faith-filled Muslims working to build a future for all of us together.

10 comments

  1. REACTION/OPINION

    First, thank you Friar Rick for your comment and in sharing this material in your blog.

    A wondefulf letter from our brother Muslim leaders who take an initiative to reachout to Pope Benedict the XVI, the leader of Universal Church through their open letter
    entitled ” A Common word between us and you.”

    Is this not a practical application of their Faith during the month of Ramadhan?
    It is very obvious from this letter that our Muslim brothers are seeking for “Peace and understanding.” Is this not one of the chrisms of St. Francis of Assisi? There we are…. the strongest similarities surfaced out. For it is true that Islam and Chrisitianity have many similarities in their basic teachings. Infact, “the Guidelines for Muslim-christian Dialogue” published by A Secretariat for Non-Christian Relation in Rome stresses of the “WORD” as a point of “convergent” without denying the point of “divergent”. It is through the point differences that real spirit of dialogue works—- to respect each other’s differences by remaining faithful to our identity. Unity in diversity comes out. Another point of convergent is a practical concerted efforts to work for peace as reiterated in the letter from the Muslim leaders.. Everybody needs PEACE regardless to whatever Faith Tradition one belongs.
    Many thanks.

  2. There’s a fundamental and insurmountable problem with ecumenism with Muslims and it is this:

    Muslims believe that the Quran was dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Jibril over an interval of 23 years in a fixed, word for word revelation dropped from heaven. They believe it was handed down to the present day in it’s exact created form. Christians don’t have this restriction as we believe our bible was written by men under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    Since muslims believe the Quran is direct from God, it’s 168 verses advocating violence against those that do not submit to Islam MUST be God’s will. Anyone who contradicts that, be he muslim, Christian or some other religion is ipso facto an infidel. This is the elephant in the room that the mainstream media simply won’t discuss – probably because nobody wants to consider the awful implications of their meaning.

    It’s ironic that Islam released this letter at the feast of Ramadan. Why? Because Muslims can look to Surah 9.5: of the Quran for guidance on what should be their attitude at the end of the “sacred feast season”: To quote: “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters [particularly Jews and Christians] wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush… ”

    A muslim who disputed this Surah is inevitably led to deny that the Quran is the direct revelation from God. This is why this letter is strictly for western consumption and will never be publically read by the authors in an islamic nation.

    Yours in Christ,
    G Shelly

  3. I notice that you use a capital “C” for Christian and only once for “Muslim”. Why is that?

    I also notice that you paint Muslims as unable to discern how to apply what they consider God’s word in light of the times in which they live. Is that really fair and accurate?

    Finally, and most disturbing, is the belief that the obstables to peace and understanding between Christians and Muslims are “insurmountable.” Lumen Gentium taught us

    “…the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.”

    I believe that many Muslims are moved by grace and can and will build up the world community on our “common word.”

  4. Fr. Rick,
    Lumen Gentium doesn’t really say much other than that Muslims say they worship the same God that we do, but some people have read into that one sentence that Islam is just like Christianity, only “a bit different.” (The same can be said of Judaism, of course.) It would be fatal to our faith to draw the false conclusion that that there is no fundamental incompatibility between Christianity and Islam (not that some haven’t tried).

  5. There are hundreds of excellent Catholic blogs out there but I’ve never contributed a letter to one and had it censored. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of a blog?

    I just thought I would pop by and see your blog and contribute some thoughts after reading “St. Bonaventure’s reaches out online” in the Catholic Register. From what I read, I had the impression that the blog was started to stimulate discussion, encourage debate and build up an online Catholic community.

  6. Yes, it was quite long. My apologies. If that’s the rule of this blog, can I edit it to the length of the original post? I believe this is an important subject, one which the Holy Father was commented extensively on .

  7. My personal opinion is more on pastoral concern.
    If we look for diffirences between Islam and Christianity, there’s a lot and this even stop us to smile with our Muslim brothers next to our door/around us. Our own Bible O.T. books also present a bloody pictures of violence.

    The differences are always there, but there are also similarities. Can we not capitalize on the point of convergent to work together to make this world a better place to live? This is basic requirement of our Faith… Jesus is urging us to take a step to improve a relationship that has been damaged in the past. My challenge is. Can I rise above my own prejudice and take a leap of faith? If we will not take the first move as a challenge to our Faith, who will do it then? The Second Vatican Council Document on the “Church Relation to Non-Christians”advocated by Pope Paul the VI, encourages us to sincerely reach out to dialogue to attain reconciliation and understanding and work together for the betterment of the whole mankind.

    Our Muslim brothers are aware of their limitations being a part of the problems caused by our differences, have shown an act of reconciliation through the “call” for concerted effortsto with us Christians toward peace and progress. Can we not accept that gesture and thankful enough that “they” like anybody else also desire to make this world a better /peaceful place to live ?

    Thanks.

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