Christian, Muslim leaders vow to 'walk hand in hand' to promote peace
Holding the third Christian-Muslim
Summit in Rome between December 2 and 4, the leaders said that while more and
more women are involved in high-level dialogues, there is still much to be
done, including recognizing that "women play a key role in
peacebuilding." The Catholic, Sunni
and Shiite delegations at the summit each included one woman scholar; the
Anglican delegation included two women clergy and two female scholars.
"Enough is enough. We are
brothers in Abraham, we speak different languages, we live in different parts
of the world," but Christianity and Islam both teach that "humanity
is one family" and religious leaders have an obligation to resist attempts
to divide brothers and sisters with violence, said Episcopal Bishop John Bryson
Chane of Washington.
Bishop Chane spoke December 4 at the final, public
session of the summit, which concluded with a "call to action" that
also included pledges: to travel together to areas affected by severe violence
as a sign to their followers that Christianity and Islam are religions of
peace; to focus more attention on equipping young people to live with respect
for other faiths; and to promote collaboration among Catholic, Anglican and
Muslim aid agencies.
Shahrzad Houshmand, an Iranian member
of the Shiite delegation and professor of Islamic studies at the Pontifical
Gregorian University in Rome, said she was listened to and her ideas were
welcomed by the group. "In such a troubled world, what we accomplished in
these three days was not small," Houshmand said.
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.
"For many years, we have practiced dialogue
face to face," the cardinal said. "Now we have to walk hand in
Pope Francis met the summit participants December 3
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
The declaration was signed by Bishop Chane, Cardinal
Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious
Dialogue, Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, and Ayatollah Seyyed Mostafa
Mohaghegh Damad of Iran.