President of the U.S.A. Barrack Hussein Obama, is making final preparations for his much-anticipated statement to the Muslim world. The controversy is already swirling about whether or not Egypt is a fitting choice for this potentially momentous occasion. There will no doubt be many who will line up on opposing sides but, for me, the point is that it is happening at all.
While the political or cultural choice for the Muslim World speech and its contents are being debated, a colleague shared a powerful statement about something else that is underway - ecumenical dialogue among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. This dialogue is captured in the Muscat Manifesto by David Ford. Delivered at the Grand Mosque of Oman on 20 April, 2009, it is a statement about the work underway among religious leaders of the three Abrahamic faiths. The Common Word initiative is bringing religious leaders together to discuss the common wisdom of the Bible, Qur'an, and Torah, especially as it relates to the challenges of our times.
While President Obama prepares and as others prepare to assess his intent and impact, if only we could watch first for the wisdom of his reaching out to the Muslim world and hope that this wisdom will stimulate others to join the conversation. Bism Illah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim, "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful."