Part of the series on the
Regensburg lecture
Pope Benedictus XVI january,20 2006 (17)
'Lecture by
Pope Benedict XVI'
Pope Benedict XVI's lecture
Initial reactions
Subsequent Vatican statements
Open letters from top Muslim clerics
Protests, attacks and threats
Controversial Statements about Qur'an Chapter 2
Assessment of the lecture's purpose
Article discussion

Open letters from top Muslim clerics

On 12 October 2006, 100 of the most respected and influential Muslim scholars and clerics, including the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Russia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Oman, as well as clerics and academics from the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Europe and North America, published an Open Letter to the Pope.[1] All the eight schools of thought and jurisprudence in Islam are represented by the signatories. The 38 signatories to the letter declare that they accept the Pope's "personal expression of sorrow and assurance that the controversial quote did not reflect his personal opinion" and responded to some of the main substantive issues raised in the Pope's treatment of a debate between the medieval Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos and an "educated Persian," including reason and faith; forced conversion; "jihad" vs. "holy war"; and the relationship between Christianity and Islam.[2]

The open letters also provided a surprising answer to Manuel II Palaiologos' question, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." It is:

What the emperor failed to realize — aside from the fact... that no such command has ever existed in Islam — is that the Prophet never claimed to be bringing anything fundamentally new.

On 11 October 2007, one year after the release of the open letter to the Pope, a larger group of 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals sent another open letter, titled A Common Word Between Us and You, to Pope Benedict and the leaders of other Christian denominations. This letter emphasized that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and share many values, including living in peace with one's neighbours.[3]

  1. H.E. Ambassador Dr. Akbar Ahmed et al. (2006). "Open Letter to his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI" (PDF). Egypt State Information Service. Center for Inter-Civilizational Dialogue Inc. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  2. "Muslim clerics reach out to Pope". BBC. 2006-10-14. 
  3. "Muslim scholars reach out to Pope". BBC News. 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 

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