"Christian and Muslim scholars from around the world had bought air tickets, written papers and begun to pack their bags for the Building Bridges conference, the sixth in a series intended to foster dialogue between the two religions. It was cancelled with just two weeks notice.
The three-day conference was set up in the wake of September 11 and meant to be an annual get-together of Christian and Muslim academics in an attempt to find theological understandings that might help prevent future terrorist attacks.
At the first conference, at Lambeth Palace in London six years ago, Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, fêted Tony Blair. In return, the Prime Minister invited the Muslim and Christian scholars to a high-profile reception at Downing Street.
Since then the scholars have met in New York, Qatar and Sarajevo. This year’s seminar in Malaysia was to signal a breakthrough in Muslim-Christian relations in a region where they are particularly delicate.
However, it is understood that some influential Muslims believe that Christianity is “not a heavenly religion” and therefore they frown on interreligious dialogue.
Although the Malaysian Government allowed Dr Williams into the country to preach at the consecration of a new Anglican bishop, it said that it would not permit the interfaith dialogue to take place.
Instead Dr Williams is taking part in a hastily convened visit to Sri Lanka. Preaching a sermon there yesterday, he outlined the “terrible consequences” of fear caused by division. He said: “We must keep our bridges in good repair, the bridges for listening and sympathy, hearing the truth from one another, learning what the other’s experience is like.” "
Read the entire report here at TimesOnline