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Uniting Church welcomes call from Muslim leaders

The Uniting Church in Australia has welcomed an open letter by Muslim scholars, which calls for Muslims and Christians to work together for peace and justice between the two religious communities.  See Journey story  http://www.journeyonline.com.au/showArticle.php?categoryId=2&articleId=1243.

The letter said the future of a peaceful world and the possibility of finding meaningful peace depend on finding common ground between the two religions, which together make up more than half the world’s population.

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Reverend Gregor Henderson, said the 138 signatories were all key Muslim religious leaders and scholars.

“This call to work together for peace in the world is very significant because it comes from such a wide cross section of the Muslim community,” Rev. Henderson said.

“Among the signatories are people from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe and this cross section gives the letter extra weight in terms of importance not just for Christians but for Muslims.”

The letter has also been affirmed by Reverend Dr Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.

“All of humanity is looking to religious leaders for guidance as to how to respond to the situation of violence in the world,” Rev. Dr Kobia said.

Drawing on both Islamic and Christian scriptures to guide the path towards healing and harmony, the letter encourages Muslims and Christians to unite in honouring two commandments of love inherent in both religions: love of God and love of neighbour.

Although there are differences between Islam and Christianity, it is clear that these commandments are a common link between the Qur’an, the Torah and the Bible.

“At a time when we in the West are tempted to stereotype Muslims as people who are intolerant and who treat Christians with contempt, this call reminds us that Muslims and Christians have long lived together in peace, for we are both called to love God and to love our neighbours,” said Rev. Henderson.

“This reminds us in the Uniting Church that we need to redouble our efforts to deepen our dialogue and build peaceful relationships.”