Response from USCCB Communications Office to

On the Occasion of the Eid al-Fitr al-Mubarak 1428 A.H.
October 13th 2007 A.D.


A group of 138 leading Muslim scholars from many parts of the world has
presented an “Open Letter” to Christian leaders calling for peace and
understanding between these two religious communities on the basis of the core
principles of Islam and of Christianity. The Open Letter is dated to coincide
with Eid al-Fitr, the holiest day of Ramadan, which is the month in which
Muslims seek spiritual renewal through the practice of fasting and of focused
prayer. Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for
Interreligious Dialogue, has also sent the traditional annual greeting for Eid
al-Fitr with the reminder that “religious believers have, as servants of the
Almighty, a duty above all to work in favor of peace...”

The Open Letter of the Muslim leaders takes up the great themes of love of
God and love of neighbor, showing how Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures
(Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-31; Quran 3:31 and 73:8) teach
“complete and total devotion to God.” Our scriptures also enjoin generous love
of neighbor, for “without giving the neighbor what we ourselves love, we do not
truly love God or the neighbor.” (cf. Quran 2:177; 3:92)(Open Letter p. 11) The
Muslim letter resonates with the words of the Apostle James: “My brothers, what
good is it to profess faith without practicing it?” (James 2:14, cf. 1:22-27 and
I John 2:3, 9-10; 3:14-18) and with the Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI
of January 26, 2006, “God is Love.”

The Open Letter gives compelling reasons why Muslims and Christians should
work together because, “with the terrible weaponry of the modern world, with
Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can
unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world’s inhabitants.
Thus our common future is at stake.” (Open Letter pg. 16) An even more serious
reminder of why we must pass from being adversaries to being peacemakers is that
“our very eternal souls are all also at stake if we fail to sincerely make every
effort to make peace and come together in harmony.” (Open Letter pg. 16) As
Catholics, we look forward to a broad dialogue of civilizations and cultures
that will take up the challenges and hopes of the distinguished Muslim authors
of this important “Common Word.”