Religious Freedom for All? A Critique of "A Common Word between Us and You"
A Discussion with Patrick Soohkdeo and Andrew Saperstein
Cosponsored by Rick Santorum
On October 13, 2007, 138 Muslim leaders signed an open letter addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and 26 other named heads of Christian denominations that was titled "A Common Word between Us and You."
One response entitled "Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to a Common Word Between Us and You" was initiated by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and was signed by more than 300 so-called "Christian leaders" - including many evangelical academics, pastors and parachurch ministry leaders.
Patrick Sookhdeo, Director of The Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity and The Barnabus Fund, believes we should be deeply skeptical of the open letter and is concerned about the semi-official "Christian response." His critique is summarized in a response to the open letter by the Barnabas Fund:
The letter suggests that loving your neighbor is a concept common to both Islam and Christianity. But it ignores the fact that the Muslim concept of love for other people can only operate within the limited scope of shari`a. Therefore in Islam there can be no absolute love for all humans, as in Christianity. Islam treats specific groups of people in specific ways: Christians and Jews are to be humiliated and brought under Islamic dominion as second rate subjects; infidels must accept Islam or be killed; apostates are to be killed if they do not return to Islam; Islamic sects considered heretical are to be fought and annihilated. Thus "neighbor" is a very limited concept in Islam, i.e. limited to fellow Muslims of the same tradition.
Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of the Barnabas Fund and the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. He holds a Ph.D. from London University 's School of Oriental and African Studies, a D.D. from Western Seminary, Portland , Oregon for work on pluralism. He lectures nationally and internationally on Islamic issues, multicultural issues and race issues. Dr. Sookhdeo is Senior Visiting Fellow at the Defence Academy of the UK and Visiting Fellow at Cranfield University . He is the author/editor of ten books and numerous papers on these subject areas, including his most recent Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam.
POSTED BY on 9:56 AM under Islam
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