UK Archbishop to meet Muslim leaders


London : The spiritual leader of the Anglican church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is to meet with Muslim leaders to discuss elements of Christianity which he admits may be “offensive” to followers of Islam, it was announced here Wednesday.

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In a letter to Muslim religious leaders and scholars, Dr Rowan Williams invited a group of Christian and Muslim leaders and scholars to a conference in October that will tackle religious freedom and religiously-inspired violence, and promote better understanding and dialogue between the two faiths.

The open letter, published here, expresses Dr Williams’ belief that the meeting will initiate an understanding between the two faiths but cannot conclude an agreed and shared understanding of God.

This, he wrote, “would fail to acknowledge the reality of the differences that exist and that have been the cause of deep and, at times in the past, even violent division.” Dr Williams also said that Christian belief in the Trinity, which states that God comprises the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, is “difficult, sometimes offensive, to Muslims.” His letter was responding to one from Muslim religious figures who wrote to 27 Christian leaders expressing a desire to discuss “the primacy of total love and devotion to God” in an attempt to reach a mutual appreciation of the two different religions.

Dr Williams provoked controversy here lately when he suggested that some parts of the Islamic law, Sharia, would “unavoidably” be adopted in the UK.