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 AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU 
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http://www.acommonword.com

I seek refuge in Allah from Satan the accursed.

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficient, the Most Merciful.

The ‘a common word between us and you’ initiative (acw) was launched on October 13th 2007 initially as an Open Letter signed by 138 leading Muslim scholars and intellectuals (including such figures as the Grand Muftis of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Oman, Bosnia, Russia, and Istanbul) to the leaders of the Christian churches and denominations of the entire world, including His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. In essence it proposed, based on verses from the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible, that Islam and Christianity share, at their cores, the twin ‘golden’ commandments of the paramount importance of loving God and loving one’s neighbor. Based on this joint common ground, it called for peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims worldwide. ACW was and is an extended global handshake of inter-religious goodwill, friendship and fellowship and consequently of world peace.

The more recent A Common Word letter …. echoed a
theme consonant with my first encyclical: the unbreakable
bond between love of God and love of neighbour,
and the fundamental contradiction of resorting to violence
or exclusion in the name of God

(cf. Deus Caritas Est, 16).
—H.H. Pope Benedict XVI, May 9th 2009,
at the King Hussein Mosque in Amman, Jordan
The appearance of the A Common Word [Open Letter] of
2007 was a landmark in Muslim-Christian relations and it
has a unique role in stimulating a discussion at the deepest
level across the world.
—H.G. Dr Rowan Williams,
the Archbishop of Canterbury, 2010

The A Common Word Initiative is the most significant initiative
in Muslim-Christian relations since Nostra Aetate
of the Second Vatican Council.
—Professor Miroslav Volf, Yale University, 2011
The Open Letter A Common Word Between Us and You
(2007) was probably the single most important initiative
ever taken by Muslim scholars and authorities towards
Christians.
—Professor David F. Ford, Regius Professor of
Divinity, University of Cambridge, U.K.
Director, Cambridge Interfaith Program, 2011


Image
Spotted a man I love dearly, Habib Ali Al Jifri in that pic.

The 5th anniversary of the launch of the A Common Word (acw) initiative offers an opportunity to look back at why and how it was launched, and the impact it has made. acw has generated a huge amount of debate, a multitude of articles and conferences and given rise to a host of other initiatives. All this has not led to peace between Muslims and Christians—which was the goal of acw—but it has led to a reduction in the tensions between these two communities who together comprise over 55% of the world’s population. ACW is a document which uses religion as the solution to the problems of inter-religious tensions. By basing itself on solid theological grounds in both religions—the twin Commandments to love God and love the neighbor—acw has demonstrated to Christians and Muslims that they have a certain common ground (despite irreducible theological differences) and that both religions require them to have relations based on love not on hatred.

During the 5 years since its launch acw has become arguably the most influential interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians in history. It has provided a common ground on which thousands of Muslim and Christian religious leaders have been brought together through:

• Initiating a multitude of conferences, seminars, workshops, training programs, university courses etc.
• Inspiring the publication of books, articles, dissertations and reports
• Founding the regular [every 3 years] Catholic-Muslim Forum which was first held at the Vatican in 2008, and then at the Baptism Site, Jordan, in 2011
• Winning awards for peace and bridge-building

It has also given rise to a variety of other actions which have in
themselves become major peace initiatives:

• It formed the basis of the UN Resolution adopting the World Interfaith Harmony Week as an UN Observance Week [first week of February every year] starting from February 2011]
• It was the impetus for a National Resolution in the USA — the Wamp–Ellison Resolution in the US House of Representatives in 2008
• It was the impetus in the Philippines for the House of Representatives to pass House Bill 6148 in June 2011 declaring the first week of February every year as World Interfaith Harmony Week
• It led to the formation of the Christian-Muslim peace delegation to Nigeria in May 2012
• It inspired the symposium at Oxford University ‘Love in Abrahamic Religions’ in October 2012

This is in addition to around half a million visitors to its website
(http://www.acommonword.com) and thousands of newspaper reports
on the activities inspired by it.

THE UNCOMMONALITY OF ‘A COMMON WORD’
Dr. Joseph Lumbard

INTRODUCTION

November 4, 2008 was an historic day. Not only did it mark a new chapter in the long and complicated history of race relations in the United States, it also marked an historic event in the long and multifaceted relationship between Islam and Christianity. For the first time in the history of Muslim-
Christian relations, a delegation of 29 Catholic cardinals, bishops and scholars met with 29 leading Muslim authorities and scholars representing some of the most established figures in the Sunni and Shiite worlds. After two days of meetings that marked the first in a series of bi-annual seminars held by the newly established Catholic-Muslim Forum, they issued a fifteen-point final declaration that included an appeal for the defense of religious minorities and a call for Muslims and Christians to work together in promoting peace the world over. The declaration read, “We profess that Catholics and Muslims are called to be instruments of love and harmony among believers, and for humanity as a whole, renouncing any oppression, aggressive violence and terrorism, especially that committed in the name of religion, and upholding the principle of justice for all.” In his comments at the final session, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed that Muslims and Christians share moral values and should defend them together:

"There is a great and vast field in which we can act together
in defending and promoting the moral values which
are part of our common heritage. We should thus work
together in promoting genuine respect for the dignity of
the human person and fundamental human rights, even
though our anthropological visions and our theologies
justify this in different ways."

Time alone will let us know if this is indeed a watershed event in the history of interfaith understanding between Christians and Muslims. Nonetheless, the fact that this and other meetings among the world’s religious leaders are taking place at all is historic. There is no previous record of leading Muslim authorities representing all branches of Islam engaging the Vatican as a single voice. That it is now happening should be cause for hope; for when two civilizations come to a greater appreciation of the humanity and the concerns of one another other, there is much less probability for misunderstandings, mistrust and the violence that can arise therefrom. At the very least, dialogue is better than indifference. At the very best, the collective moral voice of the world’s two largest religious communities may help to prevent another Bosnia, another Iraq, or another Sudan. As Seyyed Hossein Nasr said in his closing comments to the first seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum,

"Whether we are Christians or Muslims, we are beckoned
by our religions to seek peace. As people of religion meeting
here at the center of Catholicism, let us dedicate ourselves
to mutual understanding, not as diplomats, but as
sincere religious scholars and authorities standing before
God and responsible to him beyond all worldly authority"

THE BEGINNING

This historic Muslim-Christian exchange began in earnest on October 13, 2007, when 138 Muslim scholars from all corners of the world, representing every branch of Islam, including such figures as the Grand Muftis of Bosnia, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, and even Russia, delivered a fifteen-page letter entitled A Common Word Between Us and You (acw) to the leaders of Christian churches and denominations throughout the world. Originally composed by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan in consultation with traditional Islamic scholars and under the auspices of King Abdullah II of Jordan, this letter was met with responses from Christian leaders the world over, ranging from independent scholars to the Vatican, the World Council of Churches, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Patriarch of Russia, among many others. The most public response was a letter initially signed by over 300 Christian leaders and scholars entitled “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You” that was organized by the Yale Center for Faith & Culture and the Yale Divinity School and published in the New York Times on November 17, 2007. The most substantial theological response was penned by then Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Dr. Rowan Williams, after prolonged consultation with Christian church leaders from several Orthodox church, the Roman Catholic church, and a range of Protestant and Evangelical churches. The Archbishop’s response displays a subtle understanding of the limitations inherent to such a dialogue and the possibilities to which it opens. Since the initial launch, the number of Muslim scholars who have signed acw has grown to over 300, with over 460 Islamic organizations and associations now endorsing it, and there are now over 500 signatories to “A Christian Response” in addition to dozens of additional Christian responses.

The initial letter and the many responses to it have given rise to a series of conferences between Muslim and Christian leaders. The first conference, “Loving God and Neighbor in Word and Deed: Implications for Christians and Muslims,” focused upon theological issues and was held at Yale University July 24–31, 2008. The second, “A Common Word and Future Christian-Muslim Engagement,” focused upon scripture and was convened by the Anglican Archbishop and hosted by Cambridge University’s Inter-Faith Program at Cambridge University on October 13 and 14, 2008, with a final meeting at Lambeth Palace on October 15, 2008. The third was the first seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum hosted by the Vatican November 4–6, 2008. A second seminar of the Muslim-Catholic Forum was held at the Baptism Site in Jordan in November 2011. The fourth major conference, “A Common Word Between Us and You: A Global Agenda for Change,” held at Georgetown University in October 2009, focused upon the geopolitical implications of the acw initiative. Smaller conferences that continue the work of these initial conferences have been held in Jordan (September 2010) and at the University of South Carolina (March 2009), Evangelical Theological Society in LA (November 2009), Georgetown University (2011) and Yale University (2011). The United Nations Resolution to declare a worldwide interfaith harmony week for the first week of February every year is an important development that would not have been possible without the acw initiative.

Like acw the World Interfaith Harmony Week calls upon religious leaders and followers the world over to employ the teachings of their respective traditions to promote peace and understanding of other religions. As H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad stated when presenting the proposal for an interfaith harmony week to the UN General Assembly;

"The misuse or abuse of religions can thus be a cause of world strife, whereas religions should be a great foundation for facilitating world peace. The remedy for this problem can only come from the world’s religions themselves. Religions must be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

In addition, acw was the central impetus for the Wamp-Ellison Resolution adopted in the US House of Representatives on September 23, 2008. The official summary explains that the resolution;

"Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States: (1)
supports the spirit of peace and desire for unity displayed
in interfaith dialogue among leaders of the three Abrahamic
faiths; (2) encourages the many people of faith around
the world who reject terrorism and extremism to join these
and similar efforts to build a common bond based on
peace, reconciliation, and tolerance; and (3) appreciates
those voices around the world who condemn terrorism,
intolerance, genocide, and ethnic and religious hatred, and
instead commit themselves to a global peace anchored in
respect and understanding among adherents of the three
Abrahamic faiths."

The acw initiative has had a significant trickle down effect in many religious communities. It has given rise to grassroots and community level initiatives as far apart as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Canada and the United States. Development has begun on a joint website supported by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Yale University and Lambeth Palace that will recommend books in several languages so that members of each faith can read about the other faith as presented by its adherents rather than its opponents. Discussions are also underway for the development of a multi-university student drive acw initiative in the United States. In many instances these projects are a direct continuation of the practical accomplishments that have arisen from the conferences at Yale University, Cambridge University, the Vatican, and Georgetown University. In other instances these initiatives have arisen as a spontaneous response from international organizations and local religious communities. Together they indicate that acw has become a global movement that continues to gain traction. As such, it has also become a subject of scholarly investigation with several books and articles having resulted from it.

_________________________________________________________________________________________


Isn't it time we joined collectively in order to throw a curveball to the whole divide and conquer initiative? Seems religious leaders from both faiths think it's a good idea.

Together, Muslims and Christians constitute for more than half of the worlds population. If both these faiths don't seek to bridge the common ground initiative, then there can not be world peace.


Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:55 am
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
THE EVOLUTION OF "A COMMON WORD"

When discussing the development of the acw initiative, many look to the polemical comments in “Faith, Reason and the University Memories and Reflections,” a lecture delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg on September 12, 2007, to mark its inception.9 Others look to the initial Muslim response, entitled “An Open Letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,” issued one month later, while others look to acw. It must, however, be emphasized that the Catholic-Muslim Forum is only one aspect of this Christian-Muslim dialogue. In addition, it would be disingenuous to suggest that the Pope’s Regensburg address, wherein Islam was presented as a religion of violence and irrationality, was an invitation to dialogue.

In fact the Vatican made no response to the open letter that sought to clarify the misunderstandings of the Regensburg lecture other than a perfunctory courtesy visit to H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, who had initiated the response. The Vatican’s initial response to acw also appears to have been miscalculated. In contrast to the positive responses that will be examined in greater detail below, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, went so far as to say that theological dialogue with Muslims would be difficult because “Muslims do not accept that one can question the Qur‘an, because it was written, they say, by dictation from God. With such an absolute interpretation, it is difficult to discuss the contents of faith.” It is remarkable that the president of any council for interreligious dialogue would be so dismissive of Islam’s rich and diverse hermeneutical tradition, wherein every word of the Qur‘an is seen as having multiple layers of meaning. Cardinal Tauran’s statement is akin to Muslims saying that they cannot have dialogue with Christians so long as Christians maintain that Jesus is the Son of God. Cardinal Tauran also cast doubt upon the sincerity of the document and the efficacy of dialogue, saying:

…but some questions remain when we speak of the love of God, are
we speaking about the same love.”


The Vatican’s opposition to open dialogue with Muslims appears to have changed after The Uncommonality of ‘A Common Word’ publication of the response orchestrated by the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You.” Only two days after the appearance of this letter, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, sent a reply to Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad on behalf of the Pope. Soon thereafter arrangements were underway for the formation of the Catholic-Muslim Forum. In this respect it seems that the positive response of so many other churches and Christian leaders may have forced the Vatican’s hand. While the Regensburg address may have been an unintended efficient or proximate cause for this exchange, it did not serve as its source.

The source of this movement lies in the mechanisms for dialogue that Muslim scholars have been developing since 2003. Many who have followed the process from before its inception would put the starting point in July 2005 with the Amman Conference entitled “The International Islamic Conference: True Islam and its Role in Modern Society” and organized by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan, under the patronage of H.M. King Abdullah II. This groundbreaking conference marked the beginning of a process whereby Muslim scholars representing all schools of Islamic law and theology employed international consensus to address the challenges that face the whole of the Islamic world. In this way, an intra-Islamic initiative laid the groundwork for this interfaith initiative.

To understand the genesis of acw, it is thus important that one take into account the accomplishments of the Amman Message of July 2005. On the one hand, the lead-up to the Amman Message established the mechanisms by which consensus could be reached among Muslim scholars of all branches. And on the other hand, the final declaration of the Amman Message answers one of the main objections that many have had to acw, those who claim that Muslims need to denounce extremism before there can be true dialogue. Michael Gonyea expresses such concerns in The American Thinker, when he writes of the Catholic-Muslim Forum:

“If in the upcoming forum a broad cross section of Muslim leaders can be self-critical, if they can condemn the extremists, …Christians will embrace them.

Such self-critical condemnation had in fact been achieved several years earlier in what Fareed Zakaria referred to as: “a frontal attack on Al Qaeda’s theological methods.”

This frontal attack consists of three basic dimensions. Supported by seventeen fatwas from leading Sunni and Shiite authorities, it first established broad support for the eight schools of traditional Islamic law. This in itself was historic, as both Shiites and Sunnis came together to publicly affirm the validity of one another’s schools of law. They also emphasized that the schools of law are not regressive, but in fact moderate the religion by providing essential checks and balances. The second prong in this attack was to deny the legitimacy of takfir, or apostasizing others. The third was a reiteration of the traditional qualifications for issuing a fatwa. To outside observers this may seem to be a simple academic exercise, but it is in fact essential; for every act of terrorism that takes the name of Islam is preceded by an attempt at justification in Islamic terms. Within traditional Islam this is usually done through fatwas. Demonstrating the illegitimacy of fatwas that call for wanton violence thus strikes at the very root of extremist interpretations of Islam. That is to say that the problem of extremist interpretations of Islam is a textual, methodological problem that requires a textual, methodological solution. For no one commits terrorist acts without being convinced that terrorism is justified. Such justification requires a fatwa. The fatwa must be issued by one who is willing to distort the texts and sidestep the methodologies of classical Islamic law. Only by eradicating this pattern can one eradicate extremist interpretations of Islam and their attendant violence.

The final declaration of the Amman Message and the collection of fatwas employed to support it was thus a crucial step in a true “war on terrorism” in which Muslims and non-Muslims can work hand in hand. Rather than striking at the branches of radical Islamism, it struck a blow to its ideological roots.

The Amman Message was thus noteworthy for its innovative approach to building consensus across a broad spectrum of Muslim scholars, and for its The Uncommonality of ‘A Common Word’ repudiation of the extremist interpretations of Islam. This laid the necessary foundations for a broad based interreligious exchange in which influential ulama from across the Islamic spectrum would be willing to participate and which they would be willing to endorse.

THE MESSAGE OF A COMMON WORD

acw bears many similarities to the final declaration of the Amman Message of 2005. It employs the same form of consensus, addresses matters of crucial concern to the global Muslim community, and is grounded in classical Islamic teachings while building upon them. Like the final declaration of the Amman Message, the initial acw letter was ratified at a conference in Jordan. The final form of the letter was presented at a conference in September 2007 entitled “Love in the Qur‘an,” held by The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan under the patronage of H.M. King Abdullah II. As the acw website states, Never before have Muslims delivered this kind of definitive consensus statement on Christianity. Rather than engagein polemic, the signatories have adopted the traditional and mainstream Islamic position of respecting the Christian scripture and calling Christians to be more, not less, faithful to it. To effectively analyze this initial letter and the dialogue to which it has given rise, we must first allow the document to speak for itself. It begins:

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 basis for this
peace and understanding already exists.
It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths:
love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These
principles are found over and over again in the sacred
texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the
necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the
neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and
Christianity.


The letter continues by citing verses from both the Bible and the Qur'an to demonstrate the manner in which these principles are underlined in scripture:
Of God’s Unity, God says in the Holy Qur’an: Say: He is God, the One! / God, the Self-Sufficient Besought of all! (Al-Ikhlas, 112:1–2).

Of the necessity of love for God, God says in the Holy Qur’an: So invoke the Name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him with a complete devotion (Al-Muzzammil, 73:8).

Of the necessity of love for the neighbour, the Prophet Muhammad pbuh said: None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself.

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ pbuh said: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. / And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. / And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark, 12:29–31)19

acw then calls for dialogue and cooperation based upon these two principles—love of the One God and love of the neighbor— which it refers to as the two “Greatest Commandments” of the Bible. In this vein it states: The Uncommonality of ‘A Common Word’

Whilst Islam and Christianity are obviously different religions— and whilst there is no minimizing some of their formal differences—it is clear that the Two Greatest Commandments are an area of common ground and a link between the Qur‘an, the Torah, and the New Testament.

The letter concludes by saying:

So let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works. Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to one another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual good will.

The title of the letter derives from a Quranic verse that commands Muslims to issue the following call to Christians and to Jews—the “People of Scripture” as they are known in the Qur'an:

Say, “O People of Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God.” (Aal ‘Imran 3:64)

A similar verse from the Qur'an is cited at the beginning of the letter:

Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and contend with them in the fairest manner. Truly thy Lord is Best Aware of him who strayeth from His way and He is Best Aware of those who go aright.(Al-Nahl, 16:125)

Drawing upon these and other verses, acw proposes that dialogue and even contention in the fairest manner are incumbent upon Muslims, and that the principles of devotion to the one God and love of the neighbor are the strongest possible basis for mutual understanding, efficacious dialogue, and cooperation between Christianity and Islam, because they stem from the theological core of each religion. But unlike many other interfaith efforts, it does not seek to syncretize or to proselytize. Participants in this initiative have even taken pains to emphasize the need for recognizing the fundamental differences between the two traditions. Rather than watering down theological positions in the name of cooperation and thus bringing Christian and Muslim communities together at their margins, it asks both communities to speak from what is central and authoritative to each.

One of the letter’s chief aims, according to the press release that accompanied it, is to provide a “common constitution” and a definitive theological common ground for the work of myriad groups and associations around the world who are carrying out interfaith dialogue. It points out that many of these groups are unaware of each other’s efforts and often duplicate each other’s work. By providing an authoritative “Christian-Muslim Constitution” grounded in scripture, the letter aims to unify and unite the forces working towards interfaith peace and harmony. The final section of the letter proposes that this is not a matter of choice but of responsibility:

Finding common ground between Muslims and Christians is not simply a matter for polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders. Christianity and Islam are the largest and second largest religions in the world and in history. Christians and Muslims reportedly make up over a third and over a fifth of humanity respectively. Together they make up more than 55% of the world’s population, making the relationship between these two religious communities the most important factor in contributing to meaningful peace around the world. If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. 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.

Some have ascribed ulterior motives to acw, suggesting that its signatories and proponents intended to foist Muslim theology upon Christians, to reduce Islam and Christianity to an artificial union, to form a Muslim-Christian alliance against Judaism, or even to lull Christians into a false sense of complacency. But there has thus far been nothing in the movement that would support such contentions. As H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad explains:

We had honestly…only one motive: peace. We were aiming to try to spread peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims all over the world, not through governments and treaties but on the all-important popular and mass level, through the world’s most influential popular leaders precisely—that is to say through the leaders of the two religions. We wanted to stop the drumbeat of what we feared was a growing popular consensus (on both sides) for world-wide (and thus cataclysmic and perhaps apocalyptic) Muslim-Christian jihad/crusade. We were keenly aware, however, that peace efforts required also another element: knowledge. We thus aimed to try to spread proper basic knowledge of our religion in order to correct and abate the constant and unjust vilification of Islam, in the West especially.

CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO ACW

The Christian responses to acw have covered the full spectrum. Nonetheless, the majority have been very positive, with only a few cynical or dismissive responses. As there have been over 70 separate responses from bishops, priests, councils and individual scholars, and as several of these responses have led to dialogues on many levels, each cannot be analyzed here. I will instead focus upon the aforementioned responses from the Yale Center for Faith and Culture at the Yale University Divinity School, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Vatican, for each of these has already borne fruit and each has the institutional backing to continue into the future.

I will also draw attention to the response of the World Council of Churches (WCC), as it represents the widest and most diverse body of Christian denominations to have fully supported the initiative and subsequent developments, such as establishment for the World Interfaith Harmony Week.

Yale University Divinity School - The first broad-based Christian response to acw was organized by Miroslav Volf and Joseph Cummings of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at the Yale Divinity School. Signed by over 300 Christian leaders and scholars, “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You” reaffirms the fundamental thrust behind acw, saying: “Peaceful relations between Muslims and Christians stand as one of the central challenges of this century...” and that it is incumbent upon all who truly claim to uphold the values of these traditions to work together to meet this challenge. It then reaffirms the centrality of the two commandments that were the focus of acw, and in language that closely reflects that of acw, concludes by saying: “Let this common ground”—the dual common ground of love of God and of neighbor—“be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us,” which your courageous letter urges. Indeed, in the generosity with which the letter is written you embody what you call for. We most heartily agree. Abandoning all “hatred and strife,” we must engage in interfaith dialogue as those who seek each other’s good, for the one God unceasingly seeks our good. Indeed, together with you we believe that we need to move beyond “a polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders” and work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another.

Even before this letter was released, talks were underway for a conference and workshop that would bring Muslim and Christian theologians, evangelicals in particular, into greater dialogue. The conference and workshop, entitled “Loving God and Neighbor in Word and Deed: Implications for Christians and Muslims,” took place at Yale University from July 24–31, 2008. Several of the papers were published in A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Loving God and Neighbor edited by Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad and Miroslav Volf, Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. The workshop, on July 24–28, involved approximately 60 Christian and Muslim scholars, along with three Jewish scholars. The discussions, undertaken through the presentation of scholarly papers and through panels and informal conversations, focused on five major areas: “Love of God,” “Love of Neighbor,” “Love and Speech about the Other,” “Love and World Poverty,” and “God is Loving.” The larger conference, July 28–31, began with an address from Senator John Kerry. It included approximately 80 Muslim participants, 80 Christian participants, and 7 Jewish participants, extending the discussions of the scholarly workshop to a larger group of scholars and leaders.

While some of the participants, such as the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, David Burrell, and the members of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture were veterans of interreligious dialogue, many participants were new to interfaith gatherings. Even participants who were veterans of such gatherings remarked that the theological depth of discussion in the workshops was beyond any interreligious dialogue in which they had previously engaged. The depth of these discussions helped move the dialogue beyond the platitudes that often plague such encounters. The participation of many figures that are new to interreligious exchanges demonstrated the breadth of this movement. The inclusion of important religious figures, such as Leith Anderson, who was then President of the National Association of Evangelicals and Ingrid Mattson, who was then President of the Islamic Society of North America, and the opening address from Senator John Kerry demonstrate the ability of this initiative to move those who shape public opinion. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the conference is that it brought together Evangelical Christians and traditional Muslims, two communities that have had little exposure to one another and often view one another with suspicion. In one keynote session of the conference, a leading Muslim scholar and ‘televangelist’ (for lack of better word) from the Arab world, Habib Ali al-Jifri, and a leading televangelist from America, Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller, the founding Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral who is known for his internationally broadcast “Hour of Power,” shared the same stage.

This was an historic encounter in which two preachers from opposite ends of the world who have the ability to move millions within their religious communities, a traditional Islamic community and an American evangelical community that many believe to be in a clash with one another, spoke from the same podium and conveyed the same message. Never before has an international leader of the American evangelical movement and an international leader of traditional Islamic communities shared the same stage.

The final statement of the Yale Conference, which was agreed upon by all participants, reiterated the content of the previous letters, recognizing that Islam and Christianity share “an essential common ground” and “a common Abrahamic heritage.” Reaffirming the commitment to promote peace, the final statement declared: “…ours is an effort to ensure that religions heal rather than wound, nourish the human soul rather than poison human relations. These Two Commandments teach us both what we must demand of ourselves and what we should expect from the other in what we do, what we say, and what we are.” The Final Declaration also recognized that each religion affirms Divine unity and that Divine love is central to the whole of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. In addition it recognized that Christians and Muslims alike must not deny one another basic rights, nor tolerate the denigration or desecration of that which is central to either religion. The first point is of central importance to countering the claims of fringe Islamic groups that Christians worship multiple gods, a key factor in the argument of those who wish to declare them unbelievers.

The second point helps to address the misunderstandings that arose in the wake of the Danish Cartoon controversy and the eruption over “The Innocence of Muslims” video trailer. It lays the foundations for Muslim and Christian leaders to confront insults against either community with one voice and thus avoid the violence that sometimes ensues in the wake of such effrontery. The participants also discussed practical issues such as “world poverty, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the situation in Palestine and Israel, the dangers of further wars, and the freedom of religion.” In addition, the organizers committed to establishing mechanisms whereby the principles agreed upon could be conveyed to their respective communities. These include a website with recommended reading lists, the publication of study materials addressed to religious communities and setting aside a week every year wherein each community would seek to emphasize the good in the other community. The latter served as the catalyst for the aforementioned proposal to the United Nations to declare an annual World Interfaith Harmony Week. While “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You” and the Yale Conference received wide acclaim, some responses have also revealed the tensions to which dialogue between Muslims and Christians can give rise. This is most evident in the response of John Piper, a prominent Evangelical pastor and author, who released a video criticizing “Loving God and Neighbor Together” for failing to accentuate the unique nature of Jesus as the savior sent for “the propitiation of our sins.”31 Piper goes so far as to say that the Islamic rejection of the Christian teaching regarding Jesus indicates that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God and that Muslims shall thus be “cast out into utter darkness.”

Such criticisms have led some prominent Evangelicals who signed “Loving God and Neighbor Together” and who attended the first Yale conference in 2008 to explain their responses and modify their endorsements. Citing the difficulties of creating a document upon which everyone could agree, Leith Anderson writes: “While I am listed as the President of the National Association of Evangelicals I added my name as an individual and not as an institution.” Such responses allude to tensions within the evangelical community itself, as some within the evangelical movement are hesitant to embrace any dialogue that would admit to a common ground between Muslims and Christians. Others think that engaging Muslims in such dialogue is the best approach to gain access and evangelize in the Muslim world. This intra-evangelical debate was evident at the 61st annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in November of 2009, where Joseph Cumming, the main impetus behind “Loving God and Neighbor Together,” along with Donald Smedley, a signatory to the same document, participated on a panel with John Piper and Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a prominent Evangelical pastor and radio host, and two Muslim signatories to acw, Professors Caner Dagli and Joseph Lumbard The discussion shed light on the subtle theological differences that “Loving God and Neighbor Together” revealed.

More to come at a later date insha-Allah


Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:15 pm
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Unread post The Letter to Pope Francis
LETTER TO POPE FRANCIS sent to me by PM from the ACW.

Letter from the A Common Word Initiative to H.H. Pope Francis

HRH Prince Ghazi bn Muhammad wrote:
To His Holiness Pope Francis,

Al-Salaamu ‘Alaykum,

Peace be upon you,

Please accept our congratulations on becoming the 266th Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church.

As you take up the burden of responsibility, we signal to you that we hope to develop the friendly relations and constructive dialogue that were established under your predecessor, H.H. Pope Benedict XVI.

These relations started off in an unfortunate way with the remarks made at the University of Regensburg in 2006. However, H.H. Pope Benedict’s subsequent apology and the ensuing dialogue that came from the ‘A Common Word’ Initiative led to the establishment of the Catholic-Muslim Forum. Two summits have been held so far, the first one at the Vatican in 2008, where H.H. Pope Benedict XVI met all the participants, and the second one in Jordan in 2011, which again involved over fifty senior scholars and religious figures from both sides. Relations were also strengthened through the pilgrimage H.H. Pope Benedict XVI made to the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) in Jordan, and his visit to the King Hussein Mosque during the same trip in 2010.

We hope these relations will continue to improve and lead to increased and sincere friendship and harmony between Muslim and Christian communities throughout the world, which constitute the two largest religions on earth comprising together some 55% of the world’s population.

On behalf of the A Common Word Initiative and ourselves, we again extend our congratulations and best wishes for success in your mission as the successor of St. Peter.

H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad,
Chief Advisor to H.M. King Abdullah II for Religious and Cultural Affairs,
and Personal Envoy of H.M. the King,
Chairman of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.



Asralfarhi, I wonder what you make of this initiative in light of the hadeeth regarding the Muslims alliance with Ar Rum?

Could these be the initial steps that see this materialise in the modern age?

What's your take on this?


Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:21 pm
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
I see that no one really gives a *($@& about the common ground here.

:thumbdown:


Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:28 am
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
why you crying bro ? you called on one bro, asralfarhi. you think you could have waited more then one day for a response from him ? i do not comment on these things because i am not a catholic. peace.


Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:57 am
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
Crying coz on every forum i've posted this, all i see is people tlaking about conspiracy and all thbat jazz, and not how to make this world a better place through the common ground -

for the record bro Hageos, it's not about the last post - but this thread in general - no one has even replied in it to show interest... and that is a fail.

Same thing happened in VC, IB and a few others... It's beyond me, it really is.


Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:03 am
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
peace brother. i understand what you are saying now. i admit i had to take a half a year or so from the islamic idiots that call me KUFR! KUFR! KUFR! al the time. i dont mean that in any other way then just personal testimony/confession.

common ground is a very sacred thing. ive posted this verse 100 times and ill post it again here.

mattew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God

one of my favorite verses. somthing i try to do even though i fail into sin. the most influencial people in my direct life are the most humble of people i have ever met.

god bless.


Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:23 pm
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
:) that post just made my day bro Hageos.

God bless you too my brother.

Scimi


Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:54 pm
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
wwwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttttttttttttttttttt

bro scimi ! come on man ! you tricked me. but now i know it is you. im glad you are back on wup bro !


Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:10 pm
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
Always wacthing from the side lines brother... forever vigilant, and with love for humanity.

"They" have their secrets... and we, have "ours" :)

God bless,

Scimi


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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
Perception_Redefined wrote:
Always wacthing from the side lines brother... forever vigilant, and with love for humanity.

"They" have their secrets... and we, have "ours" :)

God bless,

Scimi

beleive it or not i did have some doubts in mind that you are scimitar ;)

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Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:38 am
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
:) my posting style is that obvious? :D

during my time away from here, I had been making contact with others from various forums in order to reach a common ground. It was during one of these net conversations that a brother from the Christian faith first introduced me to the ACW initiative.

Since then we have subscribed to the ACW and get updates regularly. So, when I receive any information that is particularly interesting, I post it here.

One thing does worry me slightly, no one really bothers to comment in threads such as these, which actually promote the common ground cause - which I feel is necessary for us to take on board in order for us to prove to ourselves that we ARE prepared to go that extra step, that we ARE prepared to shake hands and say "peace to you, brother" that we are prepared to believe that we are an extended family, from the line of Abraham pbuh, the friend of Allah.

Some will quote the ayah from the Quran in which it mentions "do not take the jews and Christians for friends..." not understanding that this is actually highlighting the Judeo-Christian alliance that is wholly reminiscent of modern day zionism. And not reflective of the majority of those adherents from the above mentioned faiths.

We need to get over our limited understanding and start to see the bigger picture here.

Scimi


Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:49 am
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
Scimitar wrote:
Crying coz on every forum i've posted this, all i see is people tlaking about conspiracy and all thbat jazz, and not how to make this world a better place through the common ground -

for the record bro Hageos, it's not about the last post - but this thread in general - no one has even replied in it to show interest... and that is a fail.

Same thing happened in VC, IB and a few others... It's beyond me, it really is.



can you use some simple english rather then genius vocabulary???


Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:15 pm
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
The first two posts are copied from the ACW website, namely the PDF document. It's pretty much plain English to be honest - it's just complicated to understand because it highlights the tensions between the Vatican and the Muslims seeking the common ground factor. In the article it points out that ex-Pope Benedict was not actually too pleased to hear from the Muslims at first, but after repeat attempts from the Muslims, he finally saw that the effort was sincere and so ex-Pope Benedict relented and met with the Muslims. And after that, the ACW was established.

If I am correct, Pope Francis has also picked up where Benedict left off.

I'm wondering about the hadeeth regarding the Muslims alliance with Ar Rum... could this be the start of it?

Scimi


Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:21 pm
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
Scimitar wrote:
The first two posts are copied from the ACW website, namely the PDF document. It's pretty much plain English to be honest - it's just complicated to understand because it highlights the tensions between the Vatican and the Muslims seeking the common ground factor. In the article it points out that ex-Pope Benedict was not actually too pleased to hear from the Muslims at first, but after repeat attempts from the Muslims, he finally saw that the effort was sincere and so ex-Pope Benedict relented and met with the Muslims. And after that, the ACW was established.

If I am correct, Pope Francis has also picked up where Benedict left off.

I'm wondering about the hadeeth regarding the Muslims alliance with Ar Rum... could this be the start of it?

Scimi


oh okie now im following you and the post.

you know after reading your reply. one thing comes to my mind and that is vatican is either deceived or its under control of the zionist lobby. the whole structure and obelisk is a clear indication that its not christianity at all. how come vatican will allian with us musalman?

but yes in light of the hadeeth. i think there are other people like ron paul, george galoway who might become a reason for this alliance.

in anyway the global environment in this perspective shows that may be some time, soon this Hadeeth will unfold. our intelligence is not enough to comphrend the hiqma of Allah SWT. Its good that your are keeping an eye on it. Lets see how this camel will adjust and take the twist


Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:33 pm
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
:allahua1: :allahua1:

MashAllah brother! nice share...i always look forward to such things which actually should be our focus instead of freemasonary, illuminati etc..... InshAllah i will try to share it more and more with my friends.....

i don't think its a ploy or trickery as no government is involved in this issue...only king of jordan is involved [his double standards always irritate me! on one side he is practically helping u.s and israel and on the other hand this common faith and the muslim scholar conference you shared ealier]. however, even this initiative might not get its rightful hype but somethings which could change the future would come out of this like:

Quote:
other meetings among the world’s religious leaders are taking place at all is historic. There is no previous record of leading Muslim authorities representing all branches of Islam engaging the Vatican as a single voice. That it is now happening should be cause for hope; for when two civilizations come to a greater appreciation of the humanity and the concerns of one another other, there is much less probability for misunderstandings, mistrust and the violence that can arise therefrom. At the very least, dialogue is better than indifference. At the very best, the collective moral voice of the world’s two largest religious communities may help to prevent another Bosnia, another Iraq, or another Sudan.


this is indeed a history...never happened anything like this before!

and also splendid things like this:

Quote:
, Yale University and Lambeth Palace that will recommend books in several languages so that members of each faith can read about the other faith as presented by its adherents rather than its opponents. Discussions are also underway for the development of a multi-university student drive acw initiative in the United States


making of credible litrature will surely help alot because people of keen sense read books and this could cause inter-faith harmony effective. although a little number of people come out with this common idea, it still can change the face of the world because it is not hard for Allah to made few influential above many!

i don't want to be sound foolish but do jews have any relationship like this with others [christians or Muslims]? :think: or they still whole heartedly think others Gentiles?

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Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:08 am
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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
freedomlover wrote:
:allahua1: :allahua1:

Quote:
, Yale University and Lambeth Palace that will recommend books in several languages so that members of each faith can read about the other faith as presented by its adherents rather than its opponents. Discussions are also underway for the development of a multi-university student drive acw initiative in the United States



making of credible litrature will surely help alot because people of keen sense read books and this could cause inter-faith harmony effective. although a little number of people come out with this common idea, it still can change the face of the world because it is not hard for Allah to made few influential above many!

Brother freedom. Did you ever heard of infiltration through education??? its the same technique they use through other mediums like movies, song videos, music etc. if you do then tell me how come you have hopes on yale and lambeth??? does the educaton system controlled or influenced by oxford, cambridge and foreign education system has ever! given or made an effort for peace?
you still think they are going to make piece when its a proven fact that they are the master of deception, lies and fake propaganda?? its the mother place of all sins

im sorry. just the architecture and the placement of oblesik is enough for me to know the real face of vatican


i don't want to be sound foolish but do jews have any relationship like this with others [christians or Muslims]? :think: or they still whole heartedly think others Gentiles?


in addition to above para, on this jew thingy you said. i have a question, Were any prophets AS inclduing Muhummad SAWW successful in making peace with the munafeqeen and mushrikqeen through dialogs? ever??? why did Muhummad SAWW and the musalman of makkah migrated to madina?

The effort musalman ummah is making is a very positive and good thing and is a clear sign that we musalman arent hostile.

I hope the hadeeth will unfold soon. As the global situation indicates this but this vatican thing, may be im wrong, i dont feel easy and right in agreeing to it


Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:57 am
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Unread post Re: The Letter to Pope Francis
Scimitar wrote:
Asralfarhi, I wonder what you make of this initiative in light of the hadeeth regarding the Muslims alliance with Ar Rum?

Could these be the initial steps that see this materialise in the modern age?

What's your take on this?


First of all, I would like to apologize to bro Scimitar for totally missing this thread; threads on common ground initiatives rarely get the attention they truly deserve; at a time when WARS are being peddled/sold like never before - only because we tend to see others as different than us.

Speaking of initiative.....a certain Shaykh Imran Hosein was invited to the Moscow State University for an open friendly dialogue checking notes on eschatology with Russian Christians just a few months ago;



We will probably see more of this...Insha Allah


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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
I would like to address an issue related to Vatican and so called leaders in some of our communities and movement. We are dealing with something more sinister here. I believe the present and three previous popes were wolfs in sheeps clothing. The current "Pope Franics" is Jonathan Pryce and his real wife Kate Fahy is the "acting" president of Argentina "Cristina fernandez de kirchner", two British actors and real couple connected to the Crown and also cypto-jews.

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Unread post Re: AT LAST !!! A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
mansoorkh wrote:

Brother freedom. Did you ever heard of infiltration through education??? its the same technique they use through other mediums like movies, song videos, music etc. if you do then tell me how come you have hopes on yale and lambeth??? does the educaton system controlled or influenced by oxford, cambridge and foreign education system has ever! given or made an effort for peace?
you still think they are going to make piece when its a proven fact that they are the master of deception, lies and fake propaganda?? its the mother place of all sins

im sorry. just the architecture and the placement of oblesik is enough for me to know the real face of vatican



in addition to above para, on this jew thingy you said. i have a question, Were any prophets AS inclduing Muhummad SAWW successful in making peace with the munafeqeen and mushrikqeen through dialogs? ever??? why did Muhummad SAWW and the musalman of makkah migrated to madina?

The effort musalman ummah is making is a very positive and good thing and is a clear sign that we musalman arent hostile.

I hope the hadeeth will unfold soon. As the global situation indicates this but this vatican thing, may be im wrong, i dont feel easy and right in agreeing to it


you gave the answer yourself:
mansoorkh wrote:

The effort musalman ummah is making is a very positive and good thing and is a clear sign that we musalman arent hostile.



of course the vatican is run by zionist and also the leader represented from Muslim side i.e king of jordan is also a two faced man...but my stress was on "little" positive things which will come out due to this interfaith harmony i.e positive book by good muslim scholars...the greatest thing which could be achieved by this is DAWAH....and we all know how far prophet (s.a.w) had gone to do dawah....so we should avail all opportunities to do dawah...... you would have heard :
"peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding"

we all know there are always peace ruiners around us! if in any case or by mistake something good will try to come out of this, it will immediately be destroyed! but as far as good things are coming or even a single human is getting true light we should apprecaite it!

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I am the orphan of Gaza & Kashmir. Ruins of Iraq,Syria & Palestine Bombarded of Pakistan,Afghanistan, Mali & Yemen Change of Libya and Egypt Discriminated of Bahrain & Turkey Freedom of Earth's paradise and Al-AQSA. I am the hunger stricken child of Somalia, Ethopia, & rest of Africa I am the suffering of each and every single corner of the world. But Listen!!! Hope is what I am!!


Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:54 am
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