Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An Open Letter and call from Muslim Religious Leaders to (ii)

Well, I've had opportunity to read the text of the letter from the 138 signatories of the Leaders of the Muslim Umma to the Various Primatures of the Christian Communities. It was an interesting read, and certain regards I do agree with the Bishop of Rochester, quoted previously, on quite a bit of things. Yes the document does use the Koranic verses to stress the Unity of God but I don't know that I would go so far to say that the documents language implicitly coerces the Christian reader into denying the Trinity. After all

"Whilst Islam and Christianity are obviously different religions - and whilst there is no minimalising some of their formal differences - it is clear that the Two Greatest Commandments are an area of common ground and a link between the Qur'an, the Torah and the New Testament."

But let me elaborate further. Later in the letter is said

Muslims, Christians and Jews should be free to each follow what God commanded them, and not have 'to prostrate before kings and the like,' for God says... Let there be no compulsion in religion...

and follows by saying

Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, not in the same way Christians do (but Christians themselves anyway have never all agreed with each other on Jesus Christ's PBUH nature)...

The letter goes on to explain the understanding of Islams Messiahship of Jesus. Here it's worth mentioning that historically Islam was born at a time of upheaval in Christianity when Orthodoxy was only beginning to rise out of the many theologies which after the council's took shelter in the far corners of the empire. Mohammed's uncle was a monk, and an Arian one at that - the theology of course denies the divinity of Christ which allows me to state with some sense of great security that this historical heresy influenced and determined Jesus' role in the development of Islam, we might be talking differently had his uncle been proto-orthodox.

Perhaps a better understanding of this letter would be in the context of a chance for Catechesis. There is no centralized authority within Islam and what you get at the local mosque is what you learn. Sure there are the schools of Islamic law, but for all intents and purposes we outside the umma rarely hear of a decision on certain legalistic/theological issues (I recall a class I took at Carolina where we discerened that Islamic theology flourished for a century before closing itself to further developments) like you do about Papal Proclomations and so forth. In this way and after examining the list of signers - it appears to be more of an attempt by moderates to ebb the tide of radicalism (if that's the case and it's intended audience is not so much the Christian Leaders as the Muslim faithful - good luck) ... an update: it appears I'm not the only one who believes this letter may be targetting muslims Time says as much

Muslims are duty-bound by the Koran to treat believers of other faiths with respect and friendship — and that Muslims expect the same in return. "As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them — as long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes."

I must say I'm a bit disturbed by the lack of attention in the American media...

And to conclude as these religious leaders did

Wal-Salaamu 'Alaykum, Pax Vobiscum

For an update and what Looks like Catholicism responding see the latest post on the Subject.
It appears that no one in America has taken notice, while the Europeans Asians and Africans have. And it appears my sense of this is shared world round



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1 comment:

Gashwin said...

Hmm ... I know the Catholic press has taken note: John Allen had a piece in the NCR yesterday. Don't know about the wider MSM. Maybe it doesn't fit the overall image of a hostile jihadist Islam that most want to convey?