Christians, Muslims call for joint crisis group

November 4, 2010

Global Christian and Muslim leaders meeting in Switzerland have
jointly called for the formation of a group which can be mobilized
whenever a crisis threatens to arise in which Christians and Muslims
find themselves in conflict.

In closing their November 1–4 meeting
at Geneva's Ecumenical Center, leaders of the two faiths said,
"Religion is often invoked in conflict creation, even when other
factors, such as unfair resource allocation, oppression, occupation and
injustice, are the real roots of conflict."

They added: "The basis
of our faiths, as expressed in the call to get to know each other and
the two commandments—to love God and to love the neighbor—provide a
solid ground for our common responsibility to act and address common
concerns."

The conference at the Geneva center, which houses the
World Council of Churches and other Christian organizations, was
convened by the WCC, the Libyan-based World Islamic Call Society, the
Jordanian-based Royal Aal al Bayt Institute and the consortium, A Common
Word, a group that includes Muslim scholars from around the world.

The
general secretary of the WCC, Olav Fykse Tveit, and Muslim leaders who
took part were asked November 4 what sort of crisis they would deem
necessary to assemble such a group. Tveit said ideally such a group
would be able to prevent a serious crisis. At the least, he said,
Christian-Muslim collaborators must speak out as they did earlier at
their meeting. Participants condemned an attack by an armed group on
Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation  Church in which 58 people were killed
on October 31.

The leaders urged "the United Nations and its
Security Council and all groups that call for just peace, and especially
Iraqi officials, to intervene to put an end to all terrorist attacks
aimed at degrading Iraqi people, irrespective of their religious
affiliation, and defiling Christian and Islamic sacred places."

In
a separate, pointed statement, the World Student Christian Federation
general secretary, Christine Housel, said from Lebanon: "The Christian
community in the Middle East is threatened every day by such incidents."

Not
only that, said Muhammad Al-Sammak of Lebanon's National Council for
Christian-Muslim Dialogue: "We have noticed a big change in the
demographics of the world." Christians, he noted, are growing rapidly in
numbers in Asia, Africa and South America where Muslims also live. "Out
of 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, one third now live in non-Muslim
countries." —ENI