In the final joint statement, delegates from the Catholic-Muslim Forum in Rome “unanimously condemned acts of terrorism, oppression, violence against innocent persons, persecution, desecration of sacred places, and the destruction of cultural heritage.”
In this third seminar of the Forum, the delegates also agreed that “it is never acceptable to use religion to justify such acts or to conflate such acts with religion.”
Vatican sources told Breitbart that agreement on this critical point represented a major step forward in Christian-Muslim dialogue, and offered an essential foundation for building toward the future.
The 12-member Catholic delegation was headed by Vatican representative Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and was composed of scholars and clerics from several different countries.
Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University led the 12 Muslim delegates, who included the Grand Mufti of Kosovo, the General Chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulama and the Former Minister of Higher Education of Algeria.
Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, co-ordinator of the Muslim side, was not able to attend the event for health reasons.
The Catholic-Muslim Forum was established in 2008, after Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address. At its first meeting, Benedict addressed the assembly and called for overcoming prejudices and building a common future. “I am well aware that Muslims and Christians have different approaches in matters regarding God. Yet we can and must be worshippers of the one God who created us and is concerned about each person in every corner of the world,” he said.
Pope Francis, who will visit Turkey later this month, met with participants briefly on Wednesday before his general audience. A Vatican statement said the Pope encouraged delegates “to persevere on the path of Christian-Muslim dialogue, and was pleased to note their shared commitment to the selfless and disinterested service of society.”
Along with its denunciation of terrorism and religiously motivated violence, the joint statement also underscored the importance of education of the young to build respect for others. To this end, the statement said, “school curricula and textbooks should portray an objective and respectful image of the other.”
Next week the KAICIID (King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue) is organizing another high-level inter-religious meeting in Vienna. The title of the conference, to be held on November 18 and 19, is “United against Violence in the Name of Religion.”