Muslim and Catholic leaders in metro Detroit said that Cardinal Adam Maida’s visit to the state’s largest mosque Thursday put an end to any lingering local tension over controversial remarks about Islam made earlier this month by Pope Benedict XVI.

“There is no need for a clash of cultures between us,” Imam Achmat Saleh of the Unity Center in West Bloomfield said as he left the meeting with Maida. “The cardinal took time to come here, to meet with us and to show, once again, that there is a closeness between our communities.”

At the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, a private, hour-long meeting between Catholic and Muslim leaders was followed by Maida and Imam Hassan Qazwini giving brief, public talks about the long-standing bonds between the two faiths.

Maida said the close relationship stretches back at least 41 years, to a historic Vatican declaration of respect for Islam.

“Many aspects of your traditions resemble elements of our own Catholic practices, especially the importance of daily prayer, fasting and pilgrimage,” Maida told the Muslim leaders in his public remarks. He was paraphrasing portions of the 1965 Vatican declaration about the church’s need to improve relations with both Jews and Muslims. . .

Other Muslim leaders at the meeting said the U.S.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations is raising money to help repair Christian churches damaged in the incidents.


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