Muslim leaders send peace message to Christians


138 Muslim leaders have sent a message of peace to Christians. According to Time magazine:

It is time that Muslims and Christians recognized just how similar they are — the fate of the world depends on it. That's the message being sent out today by 138 Muslim leaders and scholars in an open letter to their Christian counterparts saying that world peace hinges on greater understanding between the two faiths.

The 29-page letter — entitled "A Common Word between Us and You" — is addressed to Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and 25 other named Christian leaders and "Leaders of Christian Churches, everywhere". Organized by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan, it's the first time so many high-profile Muslims have come together to make such a public call for peace. Launched first in Jordan this morning, and then in other countries over the course of the day, the letter gets its final unveiling at a joint press conference in Washington, D.C., this afternoon by Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, and John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. By pointing out the similarities between the Bible and the Koran, between Christianity and Islam, the letter's signatories are asking Christian leaders to "come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions."
One can only hope that Christian leaders will respond to this overture in a similar vein, in the spirit of peace and mutual respect. I have discovered that the presiding bishop of the ELCA, for one, has indeed issued a respectful response. I don't know if leaders of other Christians denominations have yet done likewise.

The entire text of the letter can be found here. No, I haven't read it in its entirety. A cursory glance does show the following text:
The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity.
The love of God and the love of neighbor--aren't those two commandments the essence of the Christian faith, according to none other than Jesus himself?

This spirit of mutual respect stands in contrast to the bigoted statements about Jews that Anne Coulter has recently made--when she insisted that Jews need to convert to Christianity so they could be "perfected".