Print Page Email to a Friend
A Historic Trip to Damascus, Syria
"Invite (all) to the way
of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and discuss
with them in ways that are best and most gracious." Qur'an, 16:125.
Shaykh Ahmad Kuftaro and Dr. Robert Schuller
Interfaith gathering at the Abu Nour Foundation,
Robert Shuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden
Grove, California and Shaykh Ahmad Kuftaro, the Grand Mufti
of Syria have met in Damascus (December 1999) at the invitation
of the Grand Mufti. The visit was the first step to work together
under the banner of faith and better understanding between
Christians and Muslims. This meeting was organized by the
Center for Islamic Studies and Christians and Muslims for
Peace organizations. As a result of his visit, Dr. Robert
Shuller called on for an international Christian/Muslim conference
to take place in Damascus in the year 2000 to kick off the
twenty first century with peace and understanding between
Christians and Muslims.
In a historic address at the Abu Nuor Islamic Foundation,
attended by over 15,000 people, including many officials,
and leaders of the Christian denominations, his Excellency,
Shaykh Ahmad Kuftaro told the congregation, "Muslims
and Christians are in one camp," and that it is the duty
of the clergymen from both faiths to establish not only peace,
but also kindness and brotherhood for all mankind. Dr. Shuller
pointed out that we have a lot more in common to build on
than differences. He also said that the twenty first century
should be a century of coalition and not collision between
the followers of these two great religions.
Dr. Shuller and his delegation met with the Secretary the
Middle East Council of Churches, Dr. Mahat Al Khuri, and the
leaders of the four Christian domination of Syria in their
respective churches. Later, at the invitation of the Middle
East Council of Churches, a dinner was held in the New Umaiyad
Hotel in the honor of the American Delegation and the Grand
During his visit to the Umaiyad Mosque, Dr. Shuller and his
delegation were shown the tomb of John the Baptist within
the Mosque and the original stone containers and the water
well in which people were washed to be baptized.
Dr. William Baker, founder of Christians and Muslims for Peace
organization, CAMP was interviewed for one hour in the TV.
Program Focus. Dr. Baker said: "CAMP has brought peace
between fighting Christians and Muslims in the Philipens and
in other communities in the world."
The visit witch lasted 4 days, December 15 through 18th, 1999
marked the beginning of a new era for Muslims and Christians
working together for peace and better relationships.
The news of this event was broadcasted in the local papers,
Orange County Register, and on CNN and the PBS television
A Historic day at the Crystal
Christians and Muslims Working Together
"Invite (all) to
the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching;
and discuss with them in ways that are best and most gracious." Qur'an, 16:125.
This wonderful passage lays down the
Islamic principles for interfaith and out-reach work. Wisdom
and discretion, gentleness and consideration, are the grounds
from which gracious work will surely change hearts and minds.
Meeting people on their own level and introducing Islam to
them with examples relevant to their own knowledge, which
may be very narrow or very wide without dogmatic or offensive
disposition, will surly make a difference and show the wisdom
of the verse above.
The Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies proudly presents
a 16 minnute interfaith video clip, "Making History",
portraying discussions between Shaykh Salah Kuftaro, Chief
Director of Abu Anour Islamic Foundation, Damascus, Syria,
and Dr. Robert Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral,
Garden Grove, California, and the host of the world wide TV
show, "The Hour of Power." This video was aired
in 200 countries around the world on 17th September 2000.
"I apologies to Islam for the
Christian Crusades of 1065, let us begin a new crusade of
comrade and friendship, we are in the same camp" Dr. Robert H. Schuller
A historical and unprecedented event took place at the Crystal
Cathedral on September 10, 2000. For the first time two preeminent
leaders of Islam and Christianity met to share the common
ground of their two Faiths, which represent more than one
half the world population. Dr. Robert Schuller, founder of
the Crystal Cathedral and Pastor of the Hour of Power worldwide
TV program welcomed Sheik Salah Kuftaro, Chief Director of
the Abu Nour Islamic Foundation and the son of Sheik Ahmad
Kuftaro, the Grand Mufti of Syria on both his Sunday televised
services. Sheik Salah Kuftaro appeared on both the 9:30 and
11:00 services and told the 6000 Christian/Muslim/Jewish congregation,
including a variety of religious leaders: "Islam is not
a new religion, but that which completes the Religions of
Christ, Moses and Abraham.
The fountain of these religions is Almighty Allah." He
added that Prophet Muhammad said: "We the Prophets of
God are brothers, and the likeness of me and the prophets
before me is like that of a beautiful building with one stone
of it missing. I am the complete and final stone of this building."
Sheik Salah said: "We, Muslims and Christians are in
one camp."Regarding the Grand Mufti of Syria, Sheik Ahmad
Kuftaro, Dr. Schuller remarked: "I met the Pope on several
occasions. I have never met a man of such spirituality and
wisdom as that of your father. He is a spiritual giant."
Dr. Schuller then said: "Your father told me that the
17 million population of Syria are all Christians. Could you
elaborate on that?" Sheik Salah said: "My father
is absolutely correct. A Muslim cannot be a true Muslim if
he or she does not believe in the Prophet hood of Jesus, Moses,
or any prophet of God. We Muslims honor, reverence, and are
inspired by Jesus, Moses, Abraham, as much as by Muhammad,
and the rest of the prophets of God."
When Dr. Schuller asked his guest, "Why is it that Muslims
kill Christians and Christians kill Muslims?" Sheik Salah
said: "Heavenly Religions are like the rain. When the
rain first comes it is clean and pure, but when it reaches
people, we (people) pollute it. In Islam, we learn that no
one person shall be killed for no reason, and he recited the
Verse: "if any one killed a person, it would be as if
he kills the whole people, and if any one saved a life, it
would be as if he saved the whole people."
He further said: "A Muslim must treat a Christian or
a Jew with respect and kindness, which he would treat a Muslim."
He related that Prophet Muhammad, before he ate his meal,
asked whether or not his Jewish neighbor had received a portion
of the food. If not he would not eat."Sheik Salah said:
"A building without maintenance deteriorates fast, especially
when it is abused. Likewise, the building of our faiths gets
abused. We the clergymen have the duty to ensure that this
building is pure, beautiful and well maintained."
Dr. Schuller then apologized for the Christian Crusader war
and called on his son, Robert and Salah to start a new campaign
of friendship, he said: "I Pray
that you (Salah) and my son (Robert) start a new crusade of
comrade and friendship, I apologize to Islam for the Crusades
that the Christians started in 1065, we are in the same camp."
We praise Dr. Schuller for his blessed remarks and work for