Yusuf el-Qaradawi, president of the International Federation of Muslim Scholars, called for dialogue with the "pagan" religions of Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Confucianism. He said the federation planned to organize a symposium in New Delhi on 20 February to this end.
"Talking to the adherents of these religions is a good thing, because in many countries Muslims live side-by-side with them," Qaradawi said. "Also, there are more pagans than believers [in the monotheistic faiths] in this world, which necessitates dialogue with them."
Reactions to Qaradawi’s initiative were mixed across the Muslim world.
"He should start his dialogue with the Shia Muslims, who he has severely criticized in the past," said Abdel Motie Bayoumi, theology professor at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University. "He should concentrate on the common ground shared by both Shias and Sunnis."
"I agree with al-Qaradawi," said Saad Eddin Helaly, professor of comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University. "Islam calls for dialogue between all peoples."
Translated from the Arabic Edition.