Iraq Crisis Not a Muslim-Christian Conflict, Says Panel

“Islam in Europe” Committee Gives Perspective

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STRASBOURG, France, MARCH 18, 2003 ( The common commitment to peace of European Christians and European Muslims gives the lie to “those who want to present the conflict in Iraq” as a religious war.

So says the “Islam in Europe” Committee, which completed its five-year mandate at its final meeting here. The four-day meeting ended Sunday.

The panel had been established in 1987 by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences ( and the Conference of European Churches to aid churches in their relations with Muslim citizens across the continent.

The committee has had to respond to events in the wider world that impact on Christian-Muslim relations in Europe. Thus, it discussed “the implications of the present Iraq crisis and the consequences of a possible war, as well as the continuing conflict in the Holy Land.”

In this regard, the committee “was inspired by the unanimity expressed by church leaders in Europe and around the world, in opposing the resolution of this crisis by war in preference to working through the United Nations.”

The committee was also inspired “by the active collaboration of Christians and Muslims across Europe and around the world in joint statements, shared initiatives and prayers for peace. This cumulatively gives the lie to those who want to present this conflict as one between Christians and Muslims.”

Among its objectives, the committee advises Churches “by providing information and guidance for Christian communities on different aspects of Christian-Muslim relations.”

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