European Christians to 'intensify' cooperation with Muslims

Christians gathered from across Europe underscored "the importance of seeking common ground with Muslim partners in Europe" during a key meeting earlier this month.

The December 6-9 meeting of the Committee for Relations with Muslims in Europe followed the letter from 138 Muslim clerics, scholars and intellectuals, "A Common Word Between Us and You", which was sent to the Pope and other Christian leaders in October.

In it, some of the international Muslim community's most influential leaders called for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity, stating that if the two communities are not at peace "the world cannot be at peace".

The committee welcomed the letter as a "very significant step in the history of Islam" and a "sincere sign of establishing good relations with the Christian churches and to stand together for a more peaceful and just world".

During the meeting, the 20-strong committee also reaffirmed its commitment to entering into a "sustainable and confidence-building" dialogue with Muslims and agreed that "cooperation with Muslims in Europe should be intensified".

The Committee for Relations with Muslims in Europe was set up by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences and Conference of European Churches to advise European churches on Christian-Muslim affairs and intensify dialogue between the two faith communities.

It consists of 20 members and consultants from Roman-Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches across Europe, including Turkey, and met in Berlin at the invitation of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).