I'm the Executive Secretary of the CBCP Commission on Interreligious Dialogue, in charge of external relations (and internal formation of Catholics in dialogue) with people of other religions. And one very important aspect of our work is Christian Muslim Dialogue especially in our country, where a decades old conflict is still on-going. Last February, we held a dialogue between Iranian religious leaders and scholars and Catholic scholars engaged in actual dialogue. The title of the Dialogue was: "Faith, Reason and Jihad". The point of departure was the Regensberg Lecture of Pope Benedict XVI and the response of Muslim scholarship entitled: "Open Letter to Benedict XVI". I'm happy to report that there was coincidence between the Catholic and the Muclim position on faith and reason. The concept of Islamic Jihad was also clarified. I will supply the press statement that we issued below: Press Statement on Faith, Reason and Jihad A Roundtable Discussion among Christian and Muslim experts focusing on Faith, Reason and Jihad was held at the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas on February 5, 2007. The Christian panelists include: 1. Fr. SEBASTIANO DAMBRA Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) Harmony Village Silsilah Center, Pitogo, Sinunuc 7000, Zamboanga City 2. Sr. LILIAN CURAMING, FMM Stella Maris Compound Cambridge Street, Cubao, Quezon City The Muslim panelists include: 1. The Honorable Dr. MOHAMMAD JAVAD VAZIRI FARD Deputy Head Islamic Culture Relations Organization, Tehran Islamic Republic of Iran 2. Dr. MOHAMMAD ALI SHOMALI Interfaith Dialogue Expert September Way, Stanmore, London, UK The two panels declared that there is an intimate relationship between Faith (Religion) and Reason (Wisdom). As regards Jihad, the Muslim panel presented a Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation on Jihad. Islamic Jihad means to struggle for God. Every struggle for God is considered as Jihad, e.g., trying to better ones life is Jihad. The major Jihad is to struggle to conquer self against ones own temptations in order to submit to God. As regards War, the Muslim panel distinguishes between War and Aggression. Aggression is always wrong. War in order to impose ones religion upon another by force is wrong. A War of Conquest is wrong. War as legitimate self defense is correct. War however should be regulated. Atrocities are not allowed by Islamic teaching. The Christian panel stressed that in contemporary times, the concept of a just war is untenable. Terrorism and random violence that target non-combatants and the innocent are not allowed by Islam. It was acknowledged however that in every tradition some people may become fanatics when they perceive that justice cannot be achieved by peaceful means. They are misguided and must be educated but the situation is complex. On the one hand, we should address the injustice and on the other hand we should strive against violence. The Muslim panel also said that according to the Koran, it is better to forgive. But if systematic evil continues, forgiveness is not possible. They also said that some media practitioners sometimes unwittingly favor radicalism and fundamentalism when they equate Islam with automatic fanaticism. I hope that this teaching be propagated by Muslims and Christians alike. Wanna kill these ads? We can help!