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17 July 2012

Muslims, Catholics hold inter-faith meet in Vatican

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Vatican City: A group of Muslims and Catholics have met at the Vatican and exchanged views about their relations "in the current situation of the world".

According to a Vatican statement, the Vatican's top inter-faith dialogue official, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and the president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue, Hamid bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie, chaired the meeting.

Tauran is president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

Participants at the meeting "exchanged views about the relations between Christians and Muslim in the current situation of the world", according to the statement.

A second, two-day meeting has been scheduled in Rome in July next year whose theme will be "Believers in front of Materialism and Secularism", the Vatican said.

Eight Muslim and eight Catholic representatives will take part in the meeting.

The Vatican began regular inter-faith meetings with Muslim scholars after 138 Muslim experts wrote a letter in 2007 advocating dialogue with Christians.

The letter came after Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany in September 2006 quoting remarks by a Byzantine emperor criticising Islam as a violent religion.

The pope later apologised to Muslims after the remarks caused a violent backlash, saying the true meaning of his address "was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect".

(Courtesy: IANS/AKI, July 12, 2012)

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