Inter-religious Dialogue is Appropriate Time to Improve Islam’s Image

Inter-religious Dialogue is Appropriate Time to Improve Islam’s Image

Azerbaijan, Baku, 8 November / Trend corr. T.Jafarov, B.Hasanov/ Dialogue between Christians and Muslims is an appropriate time to improve the image of Muslims in the Christian world.

"The dialogue is an appropriate time to inform Christians of Islam and to change their mistaken views on this religion," Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani, Chairman of the Iranian Science Ministry's Law and Shariat Research Council, said to Trend from Qom city on 7 November.

On 4-6 November, Vatican hosted a meeting of about 50 Muslim and Christian religious leaders, Timeturk news agency said.

The goal of the meetings on inter-religious dialogue is to eliminate false reports and prejudice about other religions. The main criteria of the dialogue are to admit every religion in the form envisaged in it own sources and to abstain from theological disputes. The inter-religious dialogue was intensified after the meeting of the 2nd Vatican Council held by Pope XXIII. That gathering created a ministry on inter-religious dialogue. Inter-religious dialogue, which gained importance in the second half of the 20th century, is now organized by ecclesiastics and theologians.

Experts estimate the inter-religious dialogue as a step to positive results. The first of the results will be revelation of common aspects between Islam and Christianity.

"The dialogue may provide good conditions to reveal common aspects between the two monotheistic religions - Islam and Christianity," said Hadavi.

Hadavi believes creation of a friendly and fraternal atmosphere between Christians and Muslims may be a short-term result of the dialogue, and creation of conditions for exchange of ideas and cooperation between them in the cultural field may be a long-term result.

Dutch Islamologist Asma Abdulhamid believes that inter-religious dialogue is one of the main basics of religion. However, there are some obstacles to make the dialogue uninterrupted.

"As political aspect is attached to a range of events taking place in the West and East, it is a little difficult to hold the dialogue," Abdulhamid said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Copenhagen on 7 November.

Saudi researcher Ismail Yasha believes the inter-religious dialogue is intended not to bring together the religions but to provide normal coexistence of the followers of different religions. Now, a dialogue among mazhabs [Islamic schools] must be intensified as well.

"Inter-religious dialogue may provide peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians. Moreover, attention must be also drawn to a dialogue among mazhabs," Yasha said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Jeddah on 7 November.

The goal of the meeting held on 4-6 November was to design a joint action plan to reduce tensions between the Islamic and Christian religions. The dialogue is of great importance to settle the problems between the world's two major religions. On 6 November, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the participants of the meeting. The attending Muslim clerics were led by Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia (top religious leader).

"The dialogue between Islam and Christianity is a way to reduce the disputes between the followers of both religions," said Hadavi Tehrani.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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