Muslim and Vatican officials are holding historic talks in Rome to establish a better inter-faith dialogue and defuse any future tensions.
Catholic-Muslim ties soured after Pope Benedict XVI’s speech in 2006, in which he linked Muslims with past violence.
The speech provoked Muslim outrage and triggered violent protests.
It also prompted leading Muslim scholars to launch an appeal to the Pope for greater theological dialogue, called the Common Word.
The manifesto now has more than 250 signatories.
Muslim leaders say protests against the Pope’s speech – and also the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005 – might have been avoided if Christian and Muslim leaders had spoken out together against such violence.
The three-day talks in Rome are being attended by nearly 60 religious leaders and scholars from each side.
The Muslim delegation is being led by Grand Mufti of Bosnia Mustafa Ceric, while Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran heads the Vatican officials.
The meeting opens ” a new chapter in the long history” of the dialogue between the two faiths, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran told France’s La Croix newspaper on the eve of the talks.
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