In a November international conference on the family just two weeks after the bishops completed their convention on the family, Muslims and Catholics have come together and acknowledged many examples across the world of active Catholic-Muslim collaboration in charitable, educational and relief efforts.
This was a key outcome of the third seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum, which concluded today in Rome, on the theme “Working Together to Serve Others.”
At the conference, three specific issues were considered: working together to serve young people, enhancing interreligious dialogue, and service to society.
Since Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, expected to lead the Muslim delegation, couldn’t attend the event for health reasons, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington University led the Muslim delegation instead. Those gathered in Rome sent the sick prince a message expressing their good wishes.
Meanwhile, the Catholic delegation was still headed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Following the presentations of the papers and the discussions, the participants agreed on various points.
First, the delegates recognized that their gathering took place in a time of severe tension and conflict in the world, underlining the vital importance of enhanced service and mutual cooperation.
In this context, the delegates unanimously condemned acts of terrorism, oppression, and violence against innocent persons, persecution, desecration of sacred places, and the destruction of cultural heritage.
It is never acceptable to use religion to justify such acts or to conflate such acts with religion, they stressed.
Secondly, they agreed that the education of young people, be it in the family, school, university, church or mosque, is of the utmost importance for the promotion of a well-rounded identity which builds respect for others.
To this end, they noted that school curriculums and textbooks should portray an objective and respectful image of the other.
Thirdly, the participants affirmed the importance of the culture of interreligious dialogue for deepening mutual understanding. This is required to overcome prejudice, distortions, suspicions, and inappropriate generalizations, all of which damage the peaceful relationships we all seek.
The fourth point of agreement was their common feeling that dialogue should lead to action, particularly among young people. The participants encouraged Christians and Muslims to multiply opportunities for encounter and cooperation on joint projects for the common good.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, Pope Francis received the participants in audience, encouraging them to persevere on the path of Christian-Muslim dialogue, and he expressed his approval of their shared commitment to the selfless service of society.
Finally, the delegates expressed their satisfaction at this fruitful encounter and their hopes for the next meeting of the forum.
A summit of Catholic, Anglican, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders concluded on 4 December.
(Vatican Radio) The members of the III Christian-Muslim Summit of Religious Leaders and Scholars released a statement after their 3-day meeting this week in Rome. The theme was “Christians and Muslims: Believers in Society”.
The statement said the meeting was “characterised by mutual respect, opening and listening to each other; this constitutes a message of reconciliation, peace and fraternity of which our world is in great need.”
The full text of the statement is below
Press Release of the Christian-Muslim Summit of Religious Leaders and Scholars (Rome, 2-4 December 2014)
The Christian-Muslim Summit is a gathering of Christian (Catholics and Anglican Episcopal) and Muslim (Sunni and Shia) Religious Leaders and Scholars from around the world who come together for purposes of fostering interreligious and intercultural relationships and to address issues of conflict, in particular between the followers of both religions.
The III Summit was held in Rome from Tuesday 2 to Thursday 4 December 2014. The Catholic delegation was headed by His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; the Sunni delegation was led by HRH Prince El Hasan bin Talal of Jordan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies (Amman, Jordan); the Right Reverend John Bryson Chane, Eighth Bishop of the Anglican Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and Senior Advisor on Interreligious Dialogue to Washington National Cathedral, headed the Anglican Episcopal Delegation; Ayatollah Sayyed Prof. Mustafa Mohaghegh Damad, Director of Islamic Studies, Iran Academy of Sciences, led the Shia Delegation. Guests of Honour were invited; among them was His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The theme chosen for reflection and discussion by the participants is “Christians and Muslims: Believers in Society”. The four Principals and their respective delegations, along with the guests of honour from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, from Judaism, along with others, are aware of this dramatic time in our world, especially in the Middle East and in some African countries, with an un-preceded and unhuman violence. The Principals and the other participants were pleased to be received in a Private Audience by His Holiness Pope Francis, who expressed his joy for receiving them and for their meeting.
A public Session took place at the end of the Seminar, to which Diplomats accredited to the Holy See, persons involved in interreligious dialogue and media operators were invited. The “Call for Action of the Summit” was read, followed by questions and answers. The meeting was characterised by mutual respect, opening and listening to each other; this constitutes a message of reconciliation, peace and fraternity of which our world is in great need.