The terrorist attacks of 9/11 have led to a wide rift between Christians and Muslims worldwide. In an effort to bridge that gap and end Christian-Muslim violence, a group of 138 Muslim clerics and scholars representing every major branch of Islam wrote an open letter to Christians world wide. A Common Ground Between Us and You extended the olive branch to Christians by pointing out that the two basic principals of Islam and Christianity are identical â€“ namely,Â love of God, and love of neighbor.
In December, a group of Christian theologians at Yale Divinity School responded to A Common Ground with their own letter that appeared as a full page ad in the New York Times. Loving God and Neighbor Together applauded the Islamic letter, and called for Christian and Muslim leaders to come together to explore each religion's similarities.Â In November of this year, Pope Benedict XVI will convene a meeting of Muslim and Catholic scholars to explore more fully the principals of both faiths and where common ground can be found
On this edition Front and Center with Ray Hardman, Ray talks with Islamic Scholar Ingrid Mattson. Mattson was one of the scholars who helped craft the open letter to Christians worldwide. She is joined Joseph Cumming, who co-wrote the Christian response to A Common Word. He is the director of the reconciliation program at Yaleâ€™s Center for Faith and Culture. Also joining the discussion is Father Steven Pavignano, a Franciscan priest, and associate pastor at St. Patrick/St. Anthony church in Hartford.
Â Are the fundamental similarities enough to overcome the differences? Can the spirit of fellowship trickle down to the masses, especially the more fundamental sects of both religions?