A document signed in Cairo between Muslim and Catholic representatives calls for Middle East peace ,free access to the holy places in Jerusalem and a peacful solution between Christians and Muslims in Nazareth concerning the controversial mosque.
A joint Catholic-Muslim committee has produced a new statement decrying the continuing violence in the Middle East and calling for cooperation among all believers in pursuit of peace.
The statement pronounces the committee?s ?horror at the increased loss of life, the bodily harm, the damage to property? in the Middle East. The text specifically remarks that the violence has been most pronounced ?in the unjustly occupied territories? of the Palestinian West Bank. The signers voice their hope that ?peace based on justice and international legitimacy may prevail, thus bringing an end to those sufferings.?
The joint committee of monotheistic religions met at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, late in February, to approve the draft statement. The document was signed for the Vatican by Cardinal Francis Arinze and Bishop Michael Fitzgerald ? the president and secretary, respectively, of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue.
The Catholic and Muslim signers pledge their support for free access to the holy places of Jerusalem, and their desire for international guarantees of that free access. The document also calls for a ?peaceful solution? to the conflict between Christians and Muslims in Nazareth, where the construction of a large mosque adjacent to the Basilica of the Assumption has provoked religious clashes in recent months.
(EWTN News, CWNews, Rome, Italy.)