Muslims Chide Pope for Not Moving Faster on Dialogue

October 24, 2007

Author: Francis X. Rocca

Source: The Pew Forum, Religion News Service

Muslim leaders who attended an interfaith peace conference with Pope Benedict XVI chided the pope for not responding to a recent olive branch from Muslim scholars, and complained that the reaction of a high Vatican official "misses the very point of dialogue."

Their complaints stem from an open letter, signed by 138 Muslim scholars and clerics on Oct. 13, which invoked the common principles of "love of the One God, and love of the neighbor" as the ultimate basis for peace between Muslims and Christians.

Several Protestant leaders welcomed that letter, among them the heads of the Anglican Communion, World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

But "Muslims are still awaiting a proper response from H.H. Pope Benedict XVI for this unprecedented initiative," read a communique from "Muslim scholars" who attended the 21st International Meeting for Peace in Naples, Italy. Benedict attended the session's opening day on Sunday (Oct. 21).