Washington, DC — Following Pope Francis’s recent visit to Turkey during which he offered prayers in the 17th century Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Washington National Cathedral participated in a Summit of Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders in Rome, Italy. The Summit was the third in a series focused on Christian-Muslim dialogue and building relationships among global religious leaders. The effort was first launched in 2010 by the National Cathedral, the Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, the 8th Bishop of Washington and Senior Advisor for Interfaith Relations, Washington National Cathedral, and the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, Director of the Cathedral’s Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation.
“An interesting and shared strength of Christianity and Islam is their engagement with politics and religion … [Thus] Christianity and Islam have at this moment in time a great opportunity to work together effectively with governments and civil societies currently in turmoil, ” stated Bishop Chane in a “Call to Action” released following the Summit.
Drawing clergy and religious scholars from five continents, the Summit was titled “Christians and Muslims: Believers in Society” and was attended by Shi’ite, Sunni, Anglican/Episcopal and Roman Catholic leaders. This year’s three-day conference emphasized the strengths and challenges facing Christianity and Islam. One of the Summit’s principal areas of discussion engaged the ways the two religions can work together to create an overarching culture of peace and harmony. Attendants were also invited to a Private Audience with the Pope.
The released “Call to Action” called for peace in areas of violent conflict, recognized the progress that has been made and must be continued to be made for the protection of women, and condemned the use of religion to legitimize any unjust action. Additionally, the “Call to Action” emphasized the great need to develop a sense of well-being and fraternity among Christians and Muslims.