CAIR-Chicago Chairman at "Peace: Our Hope" Meeting with Pope Benedict
By Luke Willson, CAIR-Chicago
April 22, 2008
150 religious leaders representing 5 faiths, including 35 Muslim leaders, met with Pope Benedict XVI during an interfaith dinner, which CAIR-Chicago hopes will mark improved bridge-building and tolerance between the world's two largest faith communities. Safaa Zarzour was invited to attend the event as a result of the leadership and commitment he has shown toward interfaith work and bridge building in numerous capacities in the Chicago community. Zarzour has also served as CAIR-Chicago's Board President for the past several years.
The inter-religious gathering, with the theme "Peace: Our Hope," took place in Washington, D.C. at the Pope John-Paul II Cultural Center on Thursday, April 17, and was attended by leaders from a number of American religions.
"We appreciate the invitation to meet with Pope Benedict and the opportunity to help build enduring positive relations between Muslims and the Catholic Church," said CAIR spokesperson Nihad Awad, who also took part in the event.
Last November, a letter addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders was signed by 138 Muslim scholars from around the world. Titled "A Common Word" the letter calls for improved relations between Muslims and Christians based on the common ground of monotheism and love of one's neighbor.
In the past, some of the Pope's statements and actions have strained relations between Muslims and Catholics. However, there is a determination to leave the tension behind, and move forward toward mutual understanding and acceptance of differences.
CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of the largest Muslim Civil Rights and Social Justice Advocacy groups in America, with over 35 branches around America and Canada.