Pope-FrancisBy Shahid Abdul-Karim, New Haven Register, 4/13/2013

After Pope Francis I urged the West to intensify dialogue with Islam, some Connecticut Muslim leaders said steps have been made to further interfaith exchange with the Christian community.

In an audience last month, where he urged and appealed to 180 ambassadors including Muslim leaders, the pope said, “In this work, the role of religion is fundamental. It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God.” …

Muslim leaders Abdul-Majid Karim Hasan, 77, and Mongi Dhaouadi, 47, said Muslims and Christians have a history of embracing one another.

“Anytime there is a problem in the world, history tells us and it’s proven that Christians and Muslims come together to resolve those problems,” said Hasan, the resident Imam of the Abdul-Majid Karim Hasan Islamic Center in Hamden. “I think we all are aligned with scripture, in the sense of wanting to practice loving one another and having a working relationship with all people.”

Manship and Hasan meet at the Islamic Center in Hamden this month to begin extensive community dialogue. The two religious leaders said the initial talks were progressive, and will be scheduling a joint community gathering of the two faiths over the next few months.

“Our meeting was good and I enjoyed my conversation with Dr. Hasan,” Manship said. “I’m hoping more Catholics will come from behind their four walls and engage the community more,” he said.

“Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, and it’s natural that the Catholic world would like to establish a relationship with the Muslim community,” said Dhaouadi, president of Connecticut Council on American Islamic Relations, an Islamic civil liberties group. “Catholics have not always had it easy in this country, and as Muslims reflect on that history and our experiences in this country, it’s really a shared history with Catholics and Muslims.” (Full article)

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