By JUMANA FAROUKY/LONDON
It is time that Muslims and Christians recognized just how similar they are — the fate of the world depends on it. That’s the message being sent out today by 138 Muslim leaders and scholars in an open letter to their Christian counterparts saying that world peace hinges on greater understanding between the two faiths.
The 29-page letter — entitled “A Common Word between Us and You” — is addressed to Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and 25 other named Christian leaders and “Leaders of Christian Churches, everywhere”. Organized by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan, it’s the first time so many high-profile Muslims have come together to make such a public call for peace. Launched first in Jordan this morning, and then in other countries over the course of the day, the letter gets its final unveiling at a joint press conference in Washington, D.C., this afternoon by Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, and John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. By pointing out the similarities between the Bible and the Koran, between Christianity and Islam, the letter’s signatories are asking Christian leaders to “come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions.”