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Religious dialogue, outreach, apology,
and cooperation during the Year 2008:
2008-JUL-15: Archbishop of Canterbury issues
letter to Muslims: On 2008-JUL-15, The Daily Mail in London, UK,
"Christian doctrine is offensive to Muslims, the Archbishop of Canterbury
said yesterday. Dr Rowan Williams also criticized Christianity's history for its
violence, its use of harsh punishments and its betrayal of its peaceful
principles. His comments came in a highly conciliatory letter to Islamic leaders
calling for an alliance between the two faiths for 'the common good'.
Dr Williams said that violence is incompatible
with the beliefs of Christianity and Islam. Once both religions accept this
principle, they can cooperate in the fight against poverty and prejudice and
to help the environment.
He also said the Christian belief in the Trinity - that God is Father, Son and
Holy Ghost at the same time - 'is difficult, sometimes offensive, to Muslims'.
Islam, Judaism, Sihkism, and some other religions teach that God is an
Dr Williams wrote:
"It is all the more
important for the sake of open and careful dialogue that we try to clarify
what we do and do not mean by it, and so I trust that what follows will be
read in this spirit. ... Christianity has been promoted at the point of the
sword and legally supported by extreme sanctions. ... There is no religious
tradition whose history is exempt from such temptation and such failure. ...
Religious identity has often been confused with cultural or national
integrity, with structures of social control, with class and regional
identities, with empire: and it has been imposed in the interest of all these
and other forms of power. ... If we are in the habit of defending each other,
we ought to be able to learn to defend other groups and communities as well.
... We can together speak for those who have no voice or leverage in society -
for the poorest, the most despised, the least powerful, for women and
children, for migrants and minorities; and even to speak together for the
great encompassing reality that has no voice of its own, our injured and
abused material environment."
He expressed particular concern for
Christians and Muslims who live in countries in which theirs is a minority
religion. He referred to the Golden Rule, writing:
"The principle of reciprocity seems to many to be a natural expression of
love of the neighbor, since it means wanting for our neighbors what we want
for ourselves. Its acceptance by both Christians and Muslims would help to
resolve many of the tensions experienced by both Christian and Muslim
2008-NOV-29: WI: Church opens church to Muslims:Faith Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin opens its
Sunday school rooms to Muslims so that they can meet to hold their morning
and evening daily prayers. About 150 Muslim families live within a two mile
radius of the church. Many find it difficult to get across town to one of
the mosques, but can conveniently go to the Presbyterian Church.
Faith Presbyterian's pastor, the Rev. Deb Bergeson-Graham, said: "I think
we're doing this, not because of what they believe, but because of
what we believe. It's what Christ would have us do." 3
Steve Doughty, "Archbishop of Canterbury: 'Christian doctrine is
offensive to Muslims'," WorldWide Religious News, 2008-JUL-15, at: http://wwrn.org/