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Muslim leaders who represent a broad spectrum of communities around the world have issued an open letter inviting Christians to work toward peace based on core teachings in our respective faiths: the unity of God, love of him, and love of neighbor.

The Bible not only instructs us to be witnesses (Acts 1:8) but also to be peacemakers as part of our witness (Rom. 12:18). This is the most important reason we have to take the letter seriously. My experience has been that Muslims want to engage with evangelicals—even on the hard issues—if we start where we agree. The Muslim leaders who wrote and signed "A Common Word Between Us and You" have taken the initiative in doing just that.

The invitation's importance also lies in the breadth and influence of its 138 signers. Coordinated by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute of Islamic Thought in Jordan, the letter includes a large number of Grand Muftis, Fiqh Council members, and others responsible for Islamic law and its interpretation. The major branches of Sunni, Shi'ite, and Sufi Islam are represented. Particularly significant is the inclusion of the whole spectrum of positions—not only liberals, but the president and a dean of the most prestigious Sunni institution, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and also Shi'ite Ayatollahs and even the peaceful Islamist Salim Falahat, the director-general of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan (militant members from another branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia indoctrinated some of the 9/11 terrorists). Major university professors such as Seyyed Hossein Nasr and broadcasters who influence youth and public opinion also signed. Never before in modern times has such a "Who's Who of the Muslim World" signed such a document.

While recognizing ...

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October 2007

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