Muslim-Catholic Panel Is Meeting in Rome

ROME, FEB. 24, 2004 ( Muslim and Catholic representatives opened a two-day meeting to promote mutual understanding and a joint commitment to justice and peace.

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The Joint Committee of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue with Monotheistic Religions, established in Rome in 1998, is meeting through Wednesday on the topic «Avoiding Generalization in Speaking of the Other’s Religion or Community, The Ability to Be Self-Critical.»

The public session began today at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies.

The committee came into being as the result of a special agreement with Cairo’s Al-Azhar Institute, the most prestigious research and study center of the Muslim world.

A statement by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, explained that the joint committee «provides a forum for exchanges on matters of mutual interests, such as the defense of human dignity and of human rights, and the promotion of mutual knowledge and respect among Catholics and Muslims.»

Archbishop Fitzgerald and Sheikh Fawzy al-Zafzaf, president of the al-Azhar committee, are co-presidents of the joint panel. The committee meets at least once a year, alternately in Cairo and in Rome.

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