An international Catholic-Muslim Forum brings new hope to the mission of Dialogue and Peace.
Since 2007 when the open letter (A Common Word) of 138 Muslim scholars was sent to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders of the world, the Silsilah Dialogue Movement welcomed the initiative and spread the message publishing the book “ A Common Word Between Us and You” (Silsilah Publications) with the full text of the open letter in English, Arabic and a local Muslim language ( tausug) with the declaration of the first seminar of the Catholic- Muslim Forum held in Rome 4-6 November 2008 and some messages and reflections of Muslim and Christian leaders of Mindanao.
The Catholic-Muslim Forum, established in 2008 by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue (P.C.I.D.) and the Signatories of the “Open Letter” (A Common Word) to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian Leaders, this year held the Fourth Seminar in Berkeley (CA, USA), from 6th to 8th November 2017 on the theme, “Integral Human Development: Growing in Dignity. Catholic and Muslim perspectives.” After sharing viewpoints, ideas, and concerns on what it means to be human, the concept of “integral human development”, and the obstacles and opportunities on integral human development, the participants agreed on the following:
1) Christianity and Islam both assert that God created humanity, placing it at the very summit of creation, for use with gratitude and wisdom with respect for the laws of nature as stewards for the earth and her resources gifted by Almighty God for all generations.
2) God bestowed, on every human being, inalienable dignity from which fundamental human rights are derived, as well as the obligation of governments to protect them.
3) We assert the equal dignity and value of all persons irrespective of their race, gender, religion, or social status, and we categorically condemn any attempts to stereotype any people or attribute collective guilt to them for the actions of individuals among them.
4) Freedom of conscience and of religion resides at the peak of the edifice of human rights. Therefore, our collective duty demands that we respect, preserve, and promote such rights.
5) God, our Creator, wills the integral growth of every human being for the full flourishing of God’s gifts: body, soul, intellect, and spirit.
6) Christianity and Islam have moral, intellectual, and spiritual resources that can contribute to the integral human development of both individuals and communities. Persons of good will committed to the common good are the natural allies of believers desirous of the holistic development of persons, communities, and all of humanity and the conservation of the environment that sustains us.
7) As believers, we are called to do all we can to address all that hinder the integral development of humanity, including any erroneous interpretations or understandings of our respective sacred texts and traditions.
8) We believe that insecurity, conflicts, and the proliferation of armaments constitute grave obstacles to the realization of God’s will for humanity, its wellbeing and growth in peace and security. This is why we consider it our moral obligation to denounce wars and the arms trade that facilitate them, and instead use humanity’s resources for our personal and collective flourishing.
9) Together, as believers, we assert that those in need of development must be enabled to fulfil their destiny, allowing them to take their rightful place as full members of the human family according to God’s will. Indeed, we have to deepen our faith rediscovering the spiritual dimension of “integral human development” as the Catholic- Muslim Forum reminds us. Each person has to find the spiritual dimension of life, in the context of each own religion to build together a harmonious society in the plurality of cultures and religions to be able to work together for the common good.