A Common Word … for Malaysia?

a_common_word

I will be participating in a study cum workshop at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia the next one and a half days  (12-13 February 2009), entitled “A Malaysian Christian response to the Common Word

Noteworthy Malaysians who signed the document:

52. H.E. Dr. Anwar Ibrahim Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia; Honorary President of AccountAbility

66.  Prof. Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali Dean and Professor, International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), International Islamic University, Malaysia

93. Prof. Dr. Aref Ali Nayed Former Professor at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (Rome); Former Professor at International Institute for Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC, Malaysia); Senior Advisor to the Cambridge Interfaith Program at the Faculty of Divinity in Cambridge, UK

95. Dato Dr. Abdul Hamid Othman Advisor to the H.E. the Prime Minister of Malaysia

126. Prof. Dr. Muddathir Abdel-Rahim Al-Tayib Professor of Political Science and Islamic Studies, International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), Malaysia

In the letter of invitation here is what was highlighted.

A Malaysian Response to the One Year Anniversary of the Open Letter of 38 Muslim Scholars to H.H. Pope Benedict XVI and Heads of other Denominations

On the Occasion of the Eid al-Fitr al-Mubarak 1428 A.H./October 13th 2007 C.E.

The Purpose and Intention of the Letter

An Open letter consisting of 29 pages was sent to Pope Benedict XVI and Heads of other mainline including Institutions (i.e. World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation, World Methodist Council, Baptist World Alliance, World Alliance of Reformed Churches) seeking an understanding between Muslims and Christians on various issues that are common between Islam and Christianity. There is no specific deadline mentioned by the Muslim Scholars in the Open Letter for submission of responses from Christian leaders or communities. Any Church or Christian Leaders of any country or Institution are welcome to respond and contribute to this Open Letter.

Institute of World Religions (IWR), Seminari Theoloji Malaysia

The IWR would study the issues and challenges addressed in the Open Letter by organizing a special study group consisting of selected Malaysian theologians and interested lay leaders in order to make recommendations to be sent to the relevant authorities. A 2-day workshop is considered for this study from 12th to 13th February 2009 at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia, Seremban. The IWR is inviting you to join us in documenting a Malaysian Christian Response to the “Common Word.” We are would pleased to have you with us in our study-cum workshop. The aim of this workshop is to write up a document consisting of “statements” as our response to the Open Letter.

I downloaded the English Version (for immediate understanding), Indonesian Version (which interests me because of the similarity with Bahasa Malaysia, and the Booklet (with the responses) here. Interesting to note there isn’t a Chinese version.

Here’s some excerpts from the opening paragraphs from the Indonesian version (the side interest on this is due to the debate on the use of “Allah” in Malaysia for Christians especially for those whose first language is Bahasa Malaysia):

Sebuah Persamaan di Antara Kami dan Kamu

Kaum Muslim dan Nasrani bersama-sama berjumlah lebih dari setengah
populasi dunia. Tanpa perdamaian dan keadilan di antara kedua komunitas agama ini, tidak akan ada perdamaian yang berarti di dunia. Masa depan dunia tergantung kepada perdamaian antar kaum Muslim dan kaum Nasrani. Dasar dari perdamaian dan pengertian ini sudah ada. Yaitu bagian dari prinsip yang sangat mendasar dari kedua kepercayaan: kasih kepada Allah yang Maha Esa, dan kasih kepada sesama. Prinsip-prinsip ini ditemukan berulangulang di dalam teks suci Islam dan Kekristenan. Kesatuan Allah, pentingya kasih kepada Dia, dan pentingnya kasih kepada sesama dengan demikian menjadi dasar yang sama dalam Islam dan Kekristenan.

Dasar dari perdamaian dan pengertian ini sudah ada. Yaitu bagian dari
prinsip yang sangat mendasar dari kedua kepercayaan: kasih kepada Allah yang Maha Esa, dan kasih kepada sesama. Prinsip-prinsip ini ditemukan berulangulang di dalam teks suci Islam dan Kekristenan. Kesatuan Allah, pentingya kasih kepada Dia, dan pentingnya kasih kepada sesama dengan demikian menjadi dasar yang sama dalam Islam dan Kekristenan.

I wonder what would be my contribution.  We’ll see.  🙂 More information later.  For bedtime reading, you might want to try this.

Response of over 300 leading Christian scholars to A Common Word as published in its entirety as a full-page advertisement in the New York Times

About Sivin Kit

man of one wife, father of four kids
This entry was posted in Church, Malaysia, Theology, World. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *