So goes the headline of the news article on the BBC website. It says that more than 130 Muslim scholars have written to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders urging greater understanding between the two faiths.The letter comes on the anniversary of an open letter issued to the Pope last year from 38 top Muslim clerics, after he made a controversial speech on Islam.
This letter claims to be an attempt at improved relations between Muslims and Christians and was also sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the heads of the Lutheran, Methodist and Baptist churches, the Orthodox Church’s Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I and other Orthodox Patriarchs.
The contents seems the sort of thing many Christians would agree with (though not all Christians would agree with their claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God).
I am left with the feeling though, that it would have been better if the letter had been addressed to the Muslims of the world. Perhaps that is really the intended audience.
In many Muslim countries Christians are forbidden to gather for worship or to speak openly about their faith, and they must pay a special poll-tax for not being Muslim. Only last April did we got the horrific reports of Christians being tortured in Turkey because of their faith in Jesus (see my previous post).
I do welcome this letter though. If peace could exist between Muslims and Christians, if Christians had as much religious freedom in Muslim nations as Muslims have in Christian nations it would transform our world.
I, for one, am for peace.