God is our Lord and your Lord. We have our works, and you have your works. There is no disputing between us and you. God brings us together, and to him belongs the final destiny. — Qur’an, Surat al-Shura (42):15
Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” — New Testament, Matthew 5:9.
You shall be a blessing…and through
you all peoples on earth shall be blessed.
— Torah, Genesis 12:2-3
The Reconciliation Program is in the early stages of developing partnerships with leading Islamic institutions, as well as Christian and Jewish institutions, to cosponsor such initiatives as exchange-student programs, interfaith conferences, joint research and publication projects, etc.
We are aware of important work being done in this area already by a number of outstanding institutions, and we seek to support and complement that work, not supplant it.
One such initiative is the Summit for Interfaith Respect and related Inter-faith Seminary Encounter in which we are cooperating with the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development. The first meeting of the Summit, organized by the IMEPD in December 2004, brought together for the first time ever the President and Vice-President of al-Azhar University (the chief seat of Sunni Islamic learning worldwide), the Chief Justice of the Supreme Islamic Court of Jordan, and several other similarly senior Sunni Muslim leaders from the Middle East with a select group of senior leaders of all major branches of the American Christian and Jewish communities. A second meeting is being planned which will draw Shi‘ite leaders and American Muslim leaders into the process. The third phase will launch an annual summer Interfaith Seminary Encounter, bringing together clergy-in-training from leading Islamic, Christian and Jewish institutions for an intensive seminar led by faculty from the three Abrahamic faiths.
Another effort with which the Reconciliation Program is partnering is an important new dialogue initiative between the National Association of Evangelicals and the religious and political leadership of a number of Muslim countries. Plans are being developed for a conference on interfaith dialogue bringing together senior American evangelical leaders with the head of state and religious leadership of one Arab Muslim country; and initial contacts have been made with leadership in other countries.
A number of other partnerships and joint initiatives are still in the early stages of exploration, but show potential to contribute in significant ways to interfaith and international understanding.