CHICAGO/TORONTO: CPT endorses Muslim statement, "A Common Word Between Us and You."

21 February 2008
CHICAGO/TORONTO: CPT endorses Muslim statement, "A Common Word Between Us and You."

After Pope Benedict XVI made denigrating and incorrect remarks about Islam in September 2006, thirty-eight prominent Muslim clerics scholars and intellectuals released an "Open Letter to the Pope," in which they corrected his misconceptions about Islam. Toward the end of the letter, the signers noted, "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."

A year later, 138 clerics, scholars, and intellectuals from different denominations and schools of thought in Islam expanded on that letter, calling for understanding between Muslims and Christians, and emphasizing common ground between the two faiths. The result is A Common Word Between Us and You. "The basis for this peace and understanding already exists," the statement notes, "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."

Christian/Muslim dialogue is an important part of CPT work in the Middle East. CPT already is on the cutting edge of Muslim/Christian dialogue through our contacts with Muslims, both in Iraq and Palestine. These relationships occur daily in informal, spontaneous visits, and more formally in meetings with Muslim leaders. Also of great importance is our standing together with Muslims as we face the guns and other forms of oppression and our relationships with Muslims back in our home countries.

One exceptionally important relationship between CPT and the Muslim world came as a result of the kidnapping in 2005 of two CPTers and two members of a CPT delegation in Iraq, when many important Muslim leaders and groups around the world publicly spoke in support of CPT. We continue to owe a debt of gratitude to the Muslim world for their love and support during that difficult time.

The quality of "A Common Word," both in its depth and in its sensitivity to Christian concerns is remarkable and should be supported. CPT has now endorsed this statement. We encourage Christians and their worshipping communities to support this call for Christians and Muslims to come together on the simple basis of affirming that we worship one God, and that we love our neighbors. The statement can be found at