Monday, January 29, 2007

Delegation of Priests Convert to Islam at Climax of Muslim-Christian Dialogue


[In 1980, between the 1st and 7th of December, a groundbreaking dialogue was held in Khartoum, Sudan, between Muslim scholars and Christian priests. Over several sessions this distinguished group of theologians discussed topics that go to the heart of the Islamic and Christian faiths, including Monotheism, Trinity, the Qur'an, and the Bible. At the climax of this dialogue, Father James Bakheet Sulayman, President of the Christian Mission and head of the Christian delegation, declares that he, along with the rest of the Christian priests, have decided to embrace Islam. What follows is an extract from a book[1] that chronicles this remarkable event. – Editor]Final SessionConcluding RemarksA Word from Father James Bakheet Sulayman, Representing the Christian Side[Father Sulayman will imminently announce his declaration of Islam]Respected members of the Organizatrion for the Revival of Islamic Activity in the Sudan; respected sir of the office of the Saudi Religions Attaché in Khartoum; respected and honored guests:According to what was decided at the beginning of the first session, we were to give an opportunity to the scholars, Jamiel Ghazi, Ahmad ‘Abdul-Wahhab and Ibrahim Khalil, to respond to the questions related to Islam and Christianity. We had forwarded these questions to Your Eminence, hoping to find explanations and clarifications which would remove pending doubts from within ourselves. This was in the interest of knowing the truth from falsehood. Thereafter, we would give our opinion concerning the substance of the answers to the questionsNo doubt, all of you are expecting that we enter into a free discussion with you right now so we can respond to your answers and detailed explanations concerning the two faiths of Islam and ChristianityInstead, we must say truthfully in front of Allah: we have no other response but to openly declare that Islam is our religion. We must adhere to all its values and standards because it is the truth. It is the light of the best people in this world and the Hereafter. Gentlemen, with this spiritual and objective beginning, we must announce that there are numerous responsibilities awaiting us, not just towards these brothers who have embraced Islam, but there are also many priests and men and women Christian leaders who need to know what we got out of this discourse between us.Undoubtedly, this is part of the our primary responsibility wherein we must cooperate. We must cooperate sincerely, not for any material benefit, but rather to let everyone know, whether Muslims or Christians, of the truths revealed by Allah, Most Glorified, Most Exalted, to the best of His creation, Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.Before I conclude, I would like to especially thank all those who participated with all of the various means at the disposal to make this discourse a success, enabling us to emerge with positive results. This will be there for all future generations, not only Sudan but for all peoples.Wa as-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuh.Reference[1] Dialogue between Islam and Christianity: Discussion of the Religious Dogma Between Intellectuals from the Two Religions, pages 481-482. Published in 1999 by the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America (IIASA). ISBN 1-56923-036-6

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