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Vatican, Muslims, to establish permanent forum

Rome, March 6, IRNA -- The Vatican and Muslim leaders have agreed to establish a permanent forum to improve relations between the two religions.

A joint statement said the first meeting of the "The Catholic-Muslim Forum" would take place in November in Rome with 24 religious leaders and scholars from each side.

Scholars and religious leaders will be meeting November 4-6. The pope -- who will be receiving the seminar participants -- is scheduled to meet with Muslim scholars on the last day of the conference.

The announcement came after prominent Muslims and Catholics held talks at the Vatican this week in which they agreed to establish a Catholic-Muslim forum and to organize the November seminar.

"The theme of the seminar will be 'Love of God, Love of Neighbor,'" the Vatican said in a news release.

"Theological and Spiritual Foundations" will be the sub-theme on the first day. "Human Dignity and Mutual Respect" will be the topic on the second day. A public session will be held on the third day.

The Roman Catholic Church has been working to foster dialogue with Muslims in recent years, especially in light of comments made by Benedict in September 2006.

The pope and the Vatican, however, have worked to forge dialogue and reconciliation with the Muslim world, including Pope's visit to a Mosque in Turkey and praying toward Holy Mecca with Imam of the Mosque in November 2006.

... Payvand News - 03/07/08 ... --

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