Thursday, October 11, 2007

Muslims for peace

Nice article from the International Herald-Tribune (http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/11/news/religion.php) discussing a message from 130 Muslim scholars talking about the importance of peace between Islam and Christianity. For those on the far right who insist that all Muslims are the enemy of America (I'm looking at you, Glenn Beck), perhaps this little dose of reality might help.

We have plenty of enemies who are Muslims. But to fall into the intellectually lazy trap of stereotyping them all as enemies wastes our resources casting too broad a net, alienates a whole bunch of people who could be our allies, and helps the jihadists by reinforcing their propaganda that America hates all Muslims.

We wouldn't treat Timothy McVeigh as representing Christianity. By treating al Qaeda as representing Islam gives them WAY more status than they deserve, and plays right into their propaganda hands.

So, exactly who is helping the terrorists here, Mr. Beck?

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LONDON: More than 130 Muslim scholars called Thursday for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity, saying "the very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake."

In a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders, Muslim scholars from around the world said finding common ground between the world's biggest religions was not simply a matter for polite dialogue between religious leaders.

"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," the scholars wrote.

Relations between Muslims and Christians have been under strain as Al Qaeda has struck around the world and the United States and other Western countries have intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Using quotations from the Bible and the Koran to support their message, the scholars told people who relished conflict and destruction that "our very eternal souls are" at stake "if we fail to sincerely make every effort to make peace and come together in harmony."

The letter was signed by Muslim scholars from around the world, including the Algerian religious affairs minister, Bouabdellah Ghlamallah, and the grand mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa.

It was addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and to other Christian leaders, including the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the Anglican Church.

The pope caused widespread anger among Muslims last year by suggesting Islam was violent, quoting a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who spoke of the Prophet Muhammad's "command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The leader of more than one billion Roman Catholics repeatedly expressed regret for the reaction to the speech, but stopped short of the unequivocal apology wanted by Muslims.

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