Tuesday, February 5, 2008

CoExistence and Peace Making

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land sent this report on the January Amman conference, "CoExistence and Peace Making."

For pictures and more information, go to the web site of the church: www.elcjhl.org

February 2008
Steps Forward in Muslim and Christian Relations

Christian and Muslim scholars and leaders from all over the Middle East met in Jordan in late January for the Third International Conference on “CoExistence and Peace Making." The conference, organized by the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center (JICRC) among others, is a continuation of the interfaith work being done there since the Amman Message was issued in the fall of 2004.

In their final statement, Christian and Muslim leaders pledged themselves to work for many things, including:
• Respect of religious freedom, belief;• Respect of all messengers (and prophets), holy books,religious texts and symbols and prohibition of any desecration;
• Respect of and free access to all holy places
• Respect of responsible (practice of) freedom of expression which does not harm the belief and feelings of others.
• Continuation of dialogue and human cooperation to achieve justice, peace, development and decent living, called for by the human and religious teachings of the heavenly religions;
• Expand dialogue from the circles of the elite to larger community groups at the grass root level;
• School curriculum to include encouragement of dialogue, acceptance and respect of the other.

This also follows an initiative last fall of 138 Muslim scholars and leaders issuing "A Common Word Between You and Us" quoting verses from both the Bible and the Koran illustrating that the essence of our religions is love of God and love of the neighbor. It calls for Muslims and Christians to work together for common values and the public good. The letter ends with a quote from the Koran — "Vie one with another in good works ... Unto God ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ" — before making a final plea for peace: "So let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works."

God, bless these and other efforts to work together, Muslims, Christians and Jews, for the greater good of all.

For more information about the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center see this web page: http://www.coexistencejordan.org/

For details about the report issued at the conference, see this one: http://www.coexistencejordan.org/app/Public/News/ArticleDetails.asp

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For information about traveling in the Holy Land in June with Ann Hafften and Franz Schemmel, see our brochure: http://www.gtd.org/post/pdfbrochure/080618.pdf

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