We Must Communicate, Say Religious Intellectuals

ABU DHABI — Islamic and Christian clerics and intellectuals called for world peace and harmony at the conference titled ‘The Theory and Application of a Common Word’ at Zayed University.

By Anwar Ahmad

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Published: Sun 29 Mar 2009, 1:52 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:46 AM

The scholars condemned those who think there is a division between the two cultures — East and West.

In the 21st century, the gap between East and West was brought closer socially, culturally, politically and technologically.

‘A Common Word’ is an interfaith dialogue initiative which started in October, 2007 by scholars, clerics and intellectuals from across the Islamic world in a spirit of intellectual interchange with their Christian counterparts.

This exchange began with an open letter signed by 138 Muslim scholars and intellectuals, and addressed to Christian leaders and groups throughout the world, most prominently Pope Benedict XVI.

Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and President of Zayed University, said after inaugurating the conference on Thursday, “The view that the Muslim world is inherently incompatible with the contemporary global society resulted in walls of suspicion, despair and rejection. This Western view misses the point. It ignores the economic, political, social, and historical factors at the root of these problems.”

He added, “I strongly believe that we must discredit the religious and cultural interpretation of the divide and focus on its social, economic and political causes. Emphasis on the true root causes can give rise to optimism and hope. We must educate public opinion and policy makers on both sides.”

Shaikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt said, “There is no choice but to live together in the world. So what is to be done? We must engage in dialogue. We must establish principles of dialogue, which involves an aspect of exposure and clarification.”

“The cause that inspired us to act was, in all honesty, peace. We aim to spread peace between Christians and Muslims throughout the world. Not by way of governments or institutions, by a means that is more widely accepted, through social leaders who are more accomplished and effective,” Gomaa said.


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