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Good news-bad news today in the flurry of activity around a new initiative to promote Muslim-Christian dialogue. More than 130 Muslim scholars called on Thursday for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity, saying “the very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake.” In a letter to Pope Benedict and other Christian leaders, Muslim scholars from around the world said finding common ground between the world’s biggest religions was not simply a matter for polite dialogue between religious leaders.
“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,” the scholars wrote.
“Our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake,” they wrote.
The full text of the letter is being made available later this morning at a press conference in Washington and is expected to be posted at this site, www.islamicamagazine.com.
Now the bad news: The letter is being portrayed in the media already in England and other places as a letter to the pope, growing out of his awkward comments about Islam last year. Setting him up as the arbiter of Christian thought is not helpful, especially given his actions in the last number of years.