Christian communities should improve their knowledge of Islam, be good neighbours to Muslims and bear witness to their faith in an appropriate manner, according to an international group of church leaders and experts on dialogue.
The World Council of Churches along with some Christian world communions, the World Evangelical Alliance and the Roman Catholic Church are expecting some 50 church leaders and experts at a high-level Christian-Muslim dialogue in Switzerland.
In the comfort of a simple Swedish meeting room, 25 Christian and Muslim women have been meeting to talk about how religion, which is often blamed for conflict and violence, can also move people toward peace and cooperation.
Christian and Muslim groups are urging a peaceful resolution following attacks allegedly by groups linked to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao in the Philippines, and retaliation by government troops.
A Filipino army officer, who fought against Muslim secessionist rebels in southern Philippines, says he realised that somehow the cycle of violence must end, so he helped pioneer Project I.S.L.A.M., or I Sincerely Love All Muslims.
Dialogue is “the best way for mutual understanding and cooperation in human relations as well as in peaceful coexistence among nations,” said the final communiqué issued by the recent Madrid conference on inter-faith relations.
The scale of the challenge and the glimmer of new possibilities in interreligious understnading is on display at the 16-18 July international interfaith conference convened in Madrid by the Muslim World League.
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has described his private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican earlier this week as "friendly and informal". They talked for an hour, especially about Christian-Muslim relations.
A delegation led by the Rev Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has travelled to Syria wishing to learn from the country's long experience of Christians and Muslims living peacefully together.
A small number of fficials from the Vatican and senior Muslims are holding a two-day meeting in Rome this week, with the intention of laying the foundations for a major global Catholic-Islamic exchange later in 2008.