From the Guardian Unlimited:
In a letter addressed directly to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, 138 prominent Muslim scholars said that finding common ground between the world’s biggest two religions was not “simply a matter for polite ecumenical dialogue”.
The letter, which is entitled A Common Word between Us and You, says: “Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.”
The 29-page document argues that the basis for this understanding can be found in the common principles of the religions: “Love of the one God, and love of the neighbour”.
Supporting their argument with quotations from both the Bible and the Qur’an, the signatories say that Mohammed was told the same truths that had already been revealed to previous Christian and Jewish prophets, including Jesus.
But the scholars also stress that there is more at stake than “polite ecumenical dialogue” between religious leaders.
“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. Thus our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake,” the letter says.
It adds that the Qur’an entreats Muslims to treat Christians and Jews with particular friendship, though it also warns against aggression from Christians.
“We say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them – so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes,” the letter says.