The head of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Samuel Kobia, has welcomed an open letter by 138 Muslim scholars urging Christians and Muslims to seek common ground and he said the Geneva-based WCC is ready to help
“It is significant in that it is signed by such a large group of Muslim leaders and scholars from around the world, which makes it unprecedented,” Mr. Kobia, WCC general secretary, told Ecumenical News International. “Such a rare unity of purpose gives great hope as to what people of faith can achieve together.”
The Muslim document made public on Oct. 11 was addressed to world Christian leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI and Mr. Kobia. It said the world could not be at peace if Muslims and Christians were not at peace.
“The timing of this letter is also important. Today all of humanity is looking to religious leaders for guidance as to how to respond to the situation of violence in the world,” said Mr. Kobia, a Methodist from Kenya.
The WCC groups 347 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member but works with the WCC on some programs.
“The WCC is ready to cooperate with those who have sent this letter by participating in putting together a concrete process to implement what is being suggested,” said Mr. Kobia.
The letter was also addressed to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I and other Orthodox church leaders, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the leaders of world groupings of Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed Christians.
Bishop Mark Hanson, the president of the Lutheran World Federation, said the Muslim letter “attests to both the love of God and our shared heritage of true hospitality to one’s neighbour.”