Cardinal and Muslim leaders pledge co-operation
posted on 03 November 2004
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster has told the Principal of the Muslim College and that he wants to offer the assistance of the Catholic community to the Muslim community 'in any way that is open to us'.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor made the remarks on 3 November as he welcomed Sheikh Badawi and five senior British Muslims leaders to Archbishop's House for the first formal meeting of its kind since he became Archbishop of Westminster.
He told Dr Badawi he wanted to deepen mutual understanding between the two faiths in Britain and to co-operate in areas of common interest.
Sheikh Badawi, who is also Chairman of the Council of Imams and Mosques, said he was delighted to continue the warm relations he had had with the Cardinal's predecessor, Basil Hume. Dr Badawi spoke of the 'affection and gratitude' of the Muslim Community towards Roman Catholics, and the need for leaders of the two faiths to 'stand together in a time of world tension'.
At the end of the meeting it was agreed that Catholic and Muslim leaders should continue meet together regularly to speak together in areas of common concern, notably in favour of the God-given rights of human beings, of the importance of faith in schools, and of community and family.
They agreed to stand together against violence in the name of religion and to defend the religious freedoms of each other's faith anywhere in the world that these are being transgressed.
It was also suggested that Catholics might be able to offer from their experience of immigration and integration insights that could be of benefit to their Muslim brothers and sisters.
Areas of co-operation were agreed: to work together in the care for the sick and feeding of the hungry; to encourage young people of both faiths to meet together in churches and mosques to further their understanding of each other's faith; and to deepen, in as many ways as possible, the bonds of friendship and understanding between the Catholic and the Muslim communities.
Apart from Dr Badawi, the Muslims present were Maulana Shahid Raza, executive secretary of the the Muslim Law Council UK, who is an imam at the Central Mosque in Leicester; Sheikh Ashraf Salah, an imam at London's Regent's Park mosque; Yousif Al-Kheoi, the director of the Al-Kheoi Centre; and Ayatollah Dr Sayyid Fadhil Milani, Dean of the International College for Islamic Studies in London.
Alos attending were Sir Stephen Wall, the Cardinal's principal advisor for public affairs; Alfred Agius, director of Westminster Diocese Interfaith; Anthony O'Mahony of the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue at Heythrop College in London; and Cathy Grue, a member of Focolare