Engaging with Islam - Mini Conference Statement

STATEMENT 
Formed after the ‘Engaging with Islam’ Mini-Conference 
At the Gafcon 2013 conference in Nairobi 2013.
With the Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

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We encourage Anglican Christians everywhere to understand the faith of Muslims, to love them, befriend them, and witness to them, building upon what Muslims already know of Jesus Christ in order to lead to what they do not yet know:  that is the fullness of the Christian Gospel.  

Gathered as we are in Kenya, we rejoice that Muslims are free to worship and to practice their faith in countries like Kenya, and lament that this is not so for Christians and others in the Islamic world. 

We commit ourselves to pray and support the persecuted churches throughout the world.

Our churches need both to campaign for greater freedom of belief and expression in Islamic lands, as well as for material, spiritual and social support for converts and others who suffer because of their beliefs. 

We reject theocracy in every form and affirm that participation in public life must be on the basis of persuasion rather than coercion. 

We believe that majoritarian democracy is not enough to protect freedom, including freedom of religion. In many cases, we need a Bill of Rights to safeguard equality, common citizenship and freedom. 

Whilst Muslims are free to observe the tenets of Shari'a in their personal and communal life, we believe that Shariʿa should not be recognised by the State as it contradicts fundamental principles of public law.  For example, it is in tension with the fundamental principle we affirm of equal citizens regardless of their religion, and in particular the equality of women.  

We note that while radical Islam has its own agenda, poverty and other grievances contribute greatly to the recruitment of young people to their cause. We therefore urge Christians and all people of goodwill to tackle these very concrete issues that lead to radicalism. 

We call on Christian leaders to encourage an understanding of Islam and to equip followers of Christ to both reach out to both reach out to Muslims and respond appropriately to the claims of Islam.

We call for the formation of a network for the advance of interfaith relations, whereby those engaged in and concerned with the encounter and relations between Christians and Muslims can be kept in contact after this conference. This will be a practical way to offer continuing mutual support and the sharing of knowledge, examples of good practice and other resources appropriate to the differing needs faced by our communities around the world. 

We believe that it is only the Gospel that can truly change the minds and hearts of the radicalised, and we commit ourselves to fearlessly preach the Gospel to all, so that they may hear the good news for them. 

Posted January 22, 2014