Akbar Ahmed writes about Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, for The Washington Post’s On Faith weblog:
He advised Americans “to watch Muslims pray.” When people watch others of different faiths in prayer we understand them better. It is the best way to build bridges. “Don’t see religion as a political entity but in its own context,” he said. Americans need to be in touch with Muslims including through the use of e-mails. That is one way greater understanding will be created.
The archbishop pointed out that the earliest translation of the Koran was carried out by a Benedictine monk 1,000 years ago in Europe. The aim was “to understand our neighbors better.” Even though the reception was generally negative regarding the Koran itself, at least it established the importance of scholarship in understanding the faith of others.