(RNS) We are living through dangerous times. Christians and Muslims cannot afford more misunderstanding.
The challenges our world is facing are profound: The U.S. has forces engaged in armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, among other places. We have global poverty and starvation, threatening several places such as Yemen and East Africa.
The more wars the U.S. is fighting in Muslim lands, the more grievances Muslims will have. You would think that after decades of fighting these unwinnable wars we would have learned that negotiations will bring better results. But no, we are still expanding our engagement; it seems war is our default position.
In the meantime, organizations with warped ideas about Islam, like ISIS, keep finding new recruits as long as they can claim that Islam is under attack from the U.S. and its allies and that the future of Islam is in grave danger.
Intellectuals of goodwill, both Christian and Muslim, thought peace would begin if we could only identify convincing common ground for adherents of the two religions. They launched the Common Word Initiative. But this was not enough.
People on both sides have grievances and they need to feel their grievances are recognized and properly addressed.