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NCC welcomes Obama Cairo speech,
calls for continued dialogue with Muslims

New York, June 4, 2009 –  Senior staff of the National Council of Churches praised President Obama's address to the Muslim world today, and renewed the Council's commitment to friendship and dialogue with Muslim people of faith.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC General Secretary, and Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, Senior Program Director for Interfaith Relations, said they were gratified by the President's declaration in Cairo that Muslims share with all Americans common principles of "justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."

In a letter to Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America, and Dr. Sayyid Syeed, ISNA's national director of interfaith and community alliances, the NCC leaders said they were "moved to contact you old friends to express a similar recommitment to friendship and dialogue."

"The 35 member communions of the National Council of Churches, representing millions whose devotion to God is expressed through their faith in Jesus Christ, have long recognized the commonalities we share as children of Abraham with Muslims and Jews," the NCC letter said. "As President Obama said today, God’s vision is that the people of the world can live together in peace. Allow us to respond by declaring that we share his view, and we echo his sense of calling: 'Now, that must be our work here on earth.'

The text of the letter:

June 4, 2009 

Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President
Dr. Sayyid Syeed,
National Director for the Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances
Islamic Society of North America

Plainfield, Ind.

Dear Ingrid and Sayyid, 

I am sure you share our gratification over President Obama’s call in Cairo today for “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” 

The President called for a relationship based on the reality that Islam and the United States share common principles of “justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” 

Particularly gratifying to us was the fact that Mr. Obama testified to his own experience as a Christian with Muslim communities around the world, and paid tribute to civilization’s debt to Islam.  

Of course, these are not new sentiments or a new American policy. Mr. Obama’s declaration that “Islam is a part of America” was recognized and often stated by other U.S. Presidents. But Mr. Obama’s decision to make America’s relationship with Islam the topic of a major address in a major Arab capital has amplified the message around the globe. 

As we listened to the President’s address this morning, we were moved to contact you old friends to express a similar recommitment to friendship and dialogue.  

The 35 member communions of the National Council of Churches, representing millions whose devotion to God is expressed through their faith in Jesus Christ, have long recognized the commonalities we share as children of Abraham with Muslims and Jews. As President Obama said today, God’s vision is that the people of the world can live together in peace. Allow us to respond by declaring that we share his view, and we echo his sense of calling: “Now, that must be our work here on earth.” 

May God’s blessings be on us all. 

Sincerely,

Michael Kinnamon
General Secretary 

Antonios Kireopoulos
Senior Program Director for Interfaith Relations

 

 

 

 


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) , pjenks@ncccusa.org

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