Amy Proctor wrote an excellent and informative comment at Marie's Two Cents:
One of the things that makes it so difficult is that we, particularly Christians, lump all Muslims together. We think reconciliation means 1)appeasement or 2) condonment of their theology. It means neither. What it really means is that our children may have a chance of not being involved in the same war we're engaging in today.
My husband met many good Muslims in Iraq who were very devout and peaceful. It is mostly the uneducated and unemployed young Muslims who are wooed by the thrill of a supposed purpose proposed by al-Qaeda types. They are not the embodiement of their religion, however.
If you read the entire open letter you'll see this is a sincere effort to bridge the gap between the faiths. It doesn't mean we have to validate each other's theology, but that we can accept that we are both religions who want to live in the world together without bloodshed. St. Paul urged Christians to live peaceably among ALL men, not just those who theologically align with us.
On another note, here's something I learned from my husband: MUSLIMS RESPECT YOU MORE IF YOU STAND UP FOR YOUR RELIGION THAN IF YOU HAVE A PC VERSION OF YOUR RELIGION. In Iraq last year, a chaplain went to meet with an Imam, and rather than risking offending the Imam, the chaplain took off his cross before entering his home. In essense, he hid his religion. When the Imam questioned the chaplain about the missing cross, it was clear that this was a huge mistake and that the chaplain had blown a major opportunity to meet with an equal: a religious scholar. The Imam asked point blank: "Where is your cross? Are you trying to trick me?"
The message to the Imam was that the chaplain was sneaky and plotting something cinister because clearly he wasn't being who he proported to be in the Army. Why esle would he HIDE his religious symbols? Our version of separation of Church and state is killing us on the battle field.
A Muslim would rather you be 100% committed to and proud of our faith than to worry about our dedication to it offending a Muslim. They see it as cowardice and weakness. They are correct.
Essentially, there is no doubt in my mind that these Muslim scholars are sincerely reaching out to the Christian community. Pope Benedict is notorious for meeting with Muslim leaders, praying in Mosques and synoguges, and doing so jointly with those respective religions. Muslim leaders respect this.
So why make peace with Muslims? Because we want to win the war. At least I do. My husband does. We have been given a gift in that Muslims are extending a hand of friendship.... this is truly a great opportunity for us to stop talking about world peace and to work towards world peace.
Finally, I posted an entry last night that I hope all your readers will check out. 3 videos with the Army and GEN Petraeus saying the same thing Wordsmith and I have been saying here. Please do yourself a favor and view the videos. It will really help everyone to clarify their own understanding of what is transpiring in the war on terror.
Amy has left many impassioned comments throughout the blogosphere (I linked to some of them in this post). I encourage everyone to check out her most recent post on Counterinsurgency for dummies (that would be us).