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Christian, Muslim Leaders Vow to ‘Walk Hand in Hand’

Cardinal Tauran, who also participated in the first summit in Washington in 2010 and the second in Beirut in 2012, said Catholic-Muslim dialogue “is not so easy today,” especially when such ferocious violence is enflaming Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East.

The summit declaration, he said, “is a demanding document” in which the leaders recognize “it is our responsibility to improve the situation.”

“For many years, we have practiced dialogue face to face,” the cardinal said. “Now we have to walk hand in hand.”

Pope Francis met the summit participants on 3 December and told them personal visits “make our brotherhood stronger. I thank you for your work, for what you do to help us understand each other better and, especially, for what you do for peace. Dialogue: this is the path to peace.”

At the summit’s closing session, Prince Hassan said he had signed too many declarations over the years that led to very little. But the work done in Rome moved the leaders’ commitment “from the generic to the organic” and could make a real difference if the leaders keep their promises like making joint visits to refugee camps and regions experiencing tension.

Christians and Muslims claim to be proud of their heritage and see it as essential to their religious and cultural identities, he said, but without joint efforts to stem the “bloody and violent feuds” and to stop terrorist groups like the Islamic State “our heritage is being destroyed around us as we speak — the heritage of Ninevah, the heritage of Babylon, the heritage of the ancients and the heritage of the children of Abraham.”





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Tags: Unity Interreligious Christian-Muslim relations Interfaith Catholic-Muslim relations