Human greed behind financial crisis, says Archbishop

|PIC1|The Archbishop of Canterbury has hit out at the "human greed" behind the current global financial crisis.

Dr Rowan William's attack came on the back of a major two-day dialogue between Muslim and Christian leaders held at the University of Cambridge this week. The meeting marked one year since 138 Muslim leaders and scholars sent the 'A Common Word Between Us and You' letter to the Pope and other Christian leaders, warning that world peace depended on Muslims and Christians being able to make peace with one another.

When asked what he thought was behind the current economic turmoil, the Archbishop joked: "I was going to suggest Satan."

He continued: "Clearly as religious leaders we want to say that the root problem is human greed which is not specific to any one nation or even to the governing class or any one religion."

The leaders concluded their closed door meetings with a communiqué in which they called for a "more equitable global economic system that also respects our role as stewards of the earth's resources".

Dr Williams went further on Wednesday by suggesting that Christians and Muslims come together to explore a more just financial system with reasonable rates of interest - Islam forbids Muslims to charge interest.

"I would like very much to see a dialogue developing with Islam about this question of what a just, a reasonable rate of interest might look like in the light of a religious ethic but this is work, reflection, very much in its infancy to put it mildly," he said.

In the communiqué, the leaders urged people to live out the principles of "love God" and "love your neighbour" in the midst of the financial crisis.

"When a crisis of this magnitude occurs, we are all tempted to think solely of ourselves and our families and ignore the treatment of minorities and the less fortunate," they said.

"We believe that the divine commandment to love our neighbour should prompt all people to act with compassion towards others, to fulfil their duty of helping to alleviate misery and hardship.

"It is out of an understanding of shared values that we urge world leaders and our faithful everywhere to act together to ensure that the burden of this financial crisis, and also the global environmental crisis, does not fall unevenly on the weak and the poor."

They also expressed their alarm at the escalation of attacks on the Christian minority in Mosul, northern Iraq in recent weeks, where one Iraqi official said that the number of Christian families leaving the city since last week had reached 1,390 - more than 8,300 people - according to the Associated Press.

The Christian and Muslim leaders added in their communiqué, "These threats undermine the centuries-old tradition of local Muslims protecting and nourishing the Christian community, and must stop.

"We are profoundly conscious of the terrible suffering enduring by Iraqi people of every creed in recent years and wish to express our solidarity with them."