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Islamic scholar Mona Siddiqui offers a new form of inter-religious dialogue

ThatÂ?s the question Islamic scholar Mona Siddiqui approached in Rome during the Conference on Interreligious Dialogue which took place at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.

She says it starts by understanding one thing.

Mona Siddiqui

Director, Center for the Study of Islam

Â?When you consider that the majority of people who try to live a good faithful lives whatever faith they belong to they live it because somehow theyÂ?re trying to do good.Â?

But Siddiqui points out, often times religious groups are judged on a single issue, such as terrorism, clerical sex abuse or the ordination of women. Siddiqui says focusing on one issue tends to breed social and political tensions.

Mona Siddiqui

Director, Center for the Study of Islam

Â?When you have religion and power, youÂ?re always going to have abuse. 2655 but itÂ?s also very important to say that this is just one aspect that can be a very modern phenomenon or that could be something that is brought because of another reasons but itÂ?s not the only issue in that faith.Â?

She says interreligious dialogue should focus on commonalities, not from a doctrinal standpoint, rather from a practical standpoint. She says overall, faithful have more in common in their practical lives.

Mona Siddiqui

Director, Center for the Study of Islam

Â?If devotion to God is what binds us, then I am in no position to say my Jewish friend or colleague or my Christian friend or colleague who devotes their life to the worship of God in their own way is not really doing what IÂ?m doing in my way.Â?

The Conference of Interreligious Dialogue comes three years after the Pontifical University started a program centered on inter-religious studies, teaching that aims to build bridges of understanding between diverse religious traditions to build a more peaceful and tolerant world.