CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS APOLOGISE FOR CRUSADES

Reciprocating a goodwill gesture by 138 Muslim scholars, more than 300 Christian scholars and clergymen from across the globe have signed a letter apologising to Muslims for the Crusades and the repercussions of America’s so-called war on terror.

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Reciprocating a goodwill gesture by 138 Muslim scholars, more than 300 Christian scholars and clergymen from across the globe have signed a letter apologising to Muslims for the Crusades and the repercussions of America’s so-called war on terror.
“We want to begin by acknowledging that in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the war on terror) many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbours,” says the letter made available to the press  at a news conference in Abu Dhabi on November 26.
“Before we ‘shake your hand’ in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world,” added the “Loving God and  Neighbour Together” letter.
The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character waged by much of Christian Europe during 1095–1291, most of which were sanctioned by the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church to originally capture Al-Quds from Muslim rule. The Vatican has never apologized for the Christian expeditions.
“It is an unprecedented gesture to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians, who make up 55 per cent of the world’s population,” Muslim preacher Al-Habib Ali Al-Jafri told the press conference.
Early October, 138 Muslim scholars and dignitaries, including Jafri, sent a letter to the world’s Christian clergy, including Pope Benedict XVI, for dialogue based on common essentials between Islam and Christianity.
The call has already won plaudits from many non-Catholic leaders, including Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Lutheran World Federation head Bishop Mark Hanson, World Council of Churches head Rev.Samuel Kobia and US Presbyterian Church head Clifton Kirkpatrick. Roman Catholic cardinals on November 25 said the Vatican will have a positive response in the near future.
The signatories of the new letter, mostly clergymen from the United States, said they were deeply “encouraged” and “challenged” by the Muslim letter. “We receive the open letter as a Muslim hand of conviviality and cooperation extended to Christians world-wide,” they wrote. “In this response we extend our own Christian hand in return, so that together with all other human beings we may live in peace and justice as we seek to love God and our neighbours.”

Miroslav Volf, founder and director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture who compiled the response letter, said they hope to narrow all differences between Muslims and Christians. He hopes the Muslim and Christian letters would serve as a springboard for a more serious and respectful rather than a “polite ecumenical” dialogue between the two religions.