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Interfaith dialogue hit by terror attack

A leading Irish ecumenist has told a Brisbane gathering that the terror attacks on the United States challenge interfaith relations in a fundamental way because of their association with Islamic militancy.

The Catholic Leader reports that Melbourne-born Professor John D'Arcy May, Associate Professor of Interfaith Dialogue at Trinity College, Dublin, said that while Christians, Muslims and Jews have a common tradition as 'People of the Book', currently there appears to be very little basis for moving ahead together, beyond the need for politeness and damage control.

Speaking at a ceremony last week to mark the inauguration of Griffith University's multi-faith centre, he said: "Relationships of mutual trust and acceptance are therefore indispensible, for without them there simply cannot be communication that will lead to mutual understanding."

"On both sides the dualism of good versus evil has already been invoked - Jihad in the name of Islam, crusade in the name of the 'Christian' west," he said.

"The two sides have already become mirror images of one another from a moral point of view. Each is busy justifying violence religiously by claiming to eradicate evil from the world."

Catholic Leader