84 priests in the Danish church wrote an open letter, about the contrasts between Islam and Christianity. They say the two religions don't have much in common. The letter follows a letter written by the Danish Church Council in response to a 'call for dialog' from Muslim organizations.
The parish priests stress that Christians and Muslims don't talk about the same God. The signatories think that the council's letter had gone too far concerning the theological and ethical bands between Christianity and Islam, and say that the two religions are rather opposites of each other.
Theologist Katrine Winkel Holm and parish priest Jesper Bacher, both members of the Islam-critical Network (Islamkritisk Netværk), were the initiators of the new open letter. There are different opinions on coexistence between Christianity and Islam among Danish theologists. The signatories on the new letter come from across the religious spectrum.
Morten Kvist, member of the Danish Ethics Council, says that he doesn't think any theological connection between Christianity and Islam. He says it will be good if Muslim clerics could show which parts of the Koran don't legitimize violence, but stresses that differences in religion don't mean that it's impossible to talk together.
Carsten Vang, professor at the Lutheran School of Theology in Aarhus, says that in the debate about the relationship between Islam and Christianity it's important to clearly say where they speak, and must speak, differently. He says that he knows from his many trips that Christians suffer in many places in the Middle East. He doubts it when Muslim clerics present Islam as a religion of peace, when they openly approve of persecuting and killing Muslims who convert to Christianity. He signed the letter because it brought up that aspect.
Other signatories are Henrik Højlund, spokesperson for the Evangelical-Lutheran Network, parish priest Kathrine Lilleør and Edith Thingstrup, parish priest and member of the Liberal Party.
Katrine Winkel Holm and Jesper Bacher accuse the chairman of the Danish Church Council and dean of the Copenhagen Cathedral, Anders Gadegaard, of claiming in the internation press that he represents the Danish Church. Gadegaard rejects the accusation.
112 priests have signed up to the Islam Critical Network.
Sources: Kristeligt Dagblad 1, 2 (Danish)
See also: A closer look at the Muslim call for dialog