Vie only in righteousness and justice

The Archbishop of Canterbury has responded quickly and positively to an open letter from moderate Muslim leaders saying that it is a call to righteousness and mutual respect under the One God.

An open letter from 138 Muslim leaders to Christian churches warns that “the future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.” The moderate imams, ayatollahs, grand muftis, sheikhs, and scholars calls for Muslims and Christians to find common ground in the teachings and principles of the two faiths, and seeks to be a alternative voice for the radical Islam that dominates the western media.

The two faiths account for more than half the world’s population, the letter notes, and with “the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict…. Our common future is at stake.”

The 29 page document, “A Common Word Between Us and You,” was immediately received by the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and other Christian leaders in Great Britain.

Williams said,

“The theological basis of the letter and and its call to “vie with each other only in righteousness and good works; to respect each other, be fair, just and kind to another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual goodwill”, are indicative of the kind of relationship for which we yearn in all parts of the world, and especially where Christians and Muslims live together. It is particularly important in underlining the need for respect towards minorities in contexts where either Islam or Christianity is the majority presence.”

The Archbishop said that the letter’s emphasis on the fundamental importance of belief in the unity of God and love of neighbour is welcome. He said ”the letter rightly makes it clear that these are scriptural foundations equally for Jews, Christians, and for Muslims, and are the basis for justice and peace in the world.

Dr Williams continued:

“There is much here to study and to build on. The letter’s understanding of the unity of God provides an opportunity for Christians and Muslims to explore together their distinctive understandings and the ways in which these mould and shape our lives. The call to respect, peace and goodwill should now be taken up by Christians and Muslims at all levels and in all countries and I shall endeavour in this country and internationally, to do my part in working for the righteousness which this letter proclaims as our common goal.”

The Rev Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and president of the Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, has responded positively to letter sent to him and several global Christian leaders by 138 Muslim world leaders, according to Ekklesia.

Hanson wrote:

“The letter attests to both the love of God and our shared heritage of true hospitality to one’s neighbor. These commandments convey prophetic witness for mutual and vital co-existence that Christians and Muslims must embrace in one another. The letter further references how the commands to love God and neighbor are linked “between the Qur’an, the Torah and the New Testament.” I encourage everyone everywhere to read the beauty of these passages found in the sacred texts of the Abrahamic faiths, which signify God’s vision for how and whom we love in a broken world. This common vision for Jews, Muslims, and Christians signifies fidelity and fellowship in a world where conflict offends our common heritage as children of God.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that while the document is a message to Christians everywhere, it’s also a message to Muslims. The letter states that “justice and freedom of religion are a crucial part of love of the neighbor.” To those who “relish conflict and destruction,” it warns that “our very eternal souls are at stake if we fail to sincerely make every effort to make peace….”

Read: The Christian Science Monitor: Moderate Muslims Speak–To Christians

Also read: Ekklesia: Archbishop of Canterbury responds to “A Common Word.”

And: Ekklesia: Lutheran world chielf welcomes Muslim peace letter.

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