Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 22, 2007
Muslim cleric brings greetings to Canada's Catholic bishops
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
For the first time in the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' (CCCB) 65-year history, a Muslim cleric brought interfaith greetings to the conference's plenary assembly Oct. 16.
Imam Zijad Delic, national executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), told 80 bishops from across Canada that his best friend growing up in Bosnia was Catholic.
They played together ignorant of the troubles that Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox would face when Bosnia broke away from the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
"It really is a privilege for me to greet all of you," said Delic.
He described the common heritage Catholics and Muslims share: a belief in one God; a belief in divine revelation and prophets. They also share personal and social ethics. They further share a desire to promote social justice, liberty and moral values as members of one human family.
"Islam and Christianity have the necessary resources to overcome misunderstanding.
"Our collaboration does not imply giving up our religious identity," he said. The journey to new discoveries is grounded in self-respect.
He praised the hospitality that greeted him, noting positive interfaith relations "can only happen when each party in the dialogue feels secure enough to be hospitable."
With the loss of a sense of security, doors close.
Love for all
"I have no hidden agenda," he said.
The Prophet Mohammed preached love for others, not just for other Muslims, he said.
Delic said he chose to live in Canada where faithful people can affirm God's love in a society where religion is an agent of freedom. He described Canada as a land where people from different religions live in cooperation and respect, "where no one uses religion to gain advantage."
"Canada for me is the most Islamic country," he said.