Magazine article The Christian Century

Evangelicals Hear Muslim Figure

Magazine article The Christian Century

Evangelicals Hear Muslim Figure

Article excerpt

The Muslim prime minister of Malaysia opened the General Assembly of the World Evangelical Fellowship, an eight-day meeting that ended May 11, by calling for an end to interreligious conflict. "Once started, religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds," said Mahathir Mohamad in a speech to 600 Christian leaders from 82 nations assembled in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital.

The Christian gathering welcomed Mohamad with a standing ovation. The prime minister said officials of different religions should begin to discuss ways they can work toward peace and foster religious tolerance. "Intolerance breeds injustice," he said. "Injustice ... leads to rebellion and retaliation and these will lead to escalation on the part of both, making reconciliation almost impossible."

The WEF is an umbrella organization representing some 116 national and regional evangelical alliances, including the U.S.-based National Association of Evangelicals. The 131 U.S. delegates composed the second-largest group. Diane Knippers, vice-chair of the NAE and president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, said that the unprecedented address by a Muslim speaker was not the only sign of maturation and new directions by the WEF. …

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