Catholic-Muslim Panel Advises Against Generalizations

Urges More Self-Criticism, in a Joint Declaration

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 8, 2004 ( The official Catholic-Muslim dialogue committee published a declaration calling on the faithful of both religions to avoid generalizations in their mutual relations and to make room for more self-criticism.

The Vatican press office published the declaration today as a conclusion of the Feb. 24-25 meeting held here by the Joint Committee of the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue with the Monotheistic Religions and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

During the meeting, two papers were presented on “The Rejection of Generalizations and the Importance of Self-Criticism,” the concluding statement reports.

Committee members noticed that “there is agreement in the two religions, Christianity and Islam, in refusing generalization in judging people.”

“Where a sin is committed, whether by an individual or a community, only that individual or community is to be held accountable and not others,” the final declaration states.

“Both religions advocate self-criticism at the individual and community level and the examination of conscience and asking pardon, a way of behavior that may be an example to others,” it explains.

With the appeal, the Muslim and Catholic committee members say they aim “to universalize justice, peace and love among all.”

Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, headed the Catholic delegation to the meeting. Sheikh Fawzi al-Zafzaf, president of the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue with the Monotheistic Religions, headed the Muslim delegation.

Al-Azhar University, headquartered in Cairo, is the most prestigious study and research center of the Muslim world.

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