Islamic scholars appeal to Pope

More than 130 Islamic scholars have written to Pope Benedict and other Christian leaders urging greater understanding between the two faiths.

The letter says that world peace could depend on improved relations between Muslims and Christians.

It identifies the principles of accepting only one god and living in peace with one's neighbours as common ground between the two religions, BBC World News reported the letter also insists that Christians and Muslims worship the same god.

The letter comes on the anniversary of an open letter issued to the Pope last year from 38 top Muslim clerics, after he made a controversial speech on Islam.

Pope Benedict sparked an uproar in September last year by quoting a medieval text which linked Islam to violence.

The letter coincides with the Eid al-Fitr celebrations to mark the end of Ramadan.

The letter, compares passages in the Koran and the Bible, concluding that both emphasise "the primacy of total love and devotion to God", and the love of the neighbour.

"As Muslims, 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.

One of the signatories, Dr Aref Ali Nayed, a senior adviser at the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme at Cambridge University, told the BBC that the document should be seen as a landmark.

Muslim scholars reach out to Pope (BBC News, 11/10/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Islam Org
The Vatican
The Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme

Ratzinger denies Christianity 'superior' to Islam (CathNews, 06/03/02)
Ratzinger criticises Islam for mixing politics, religion (CathNews, 27/11/03)
Pope challenges Islam on religious freedom (CathNews, 16/05/06)

12 Oct 2007