[TBC: The connection between Islam and Catholicism continues to grow, primarily because of a common interest in the Virgin Mary.] There are those who "envision a coming clash of civilizations which they are ever more ready to see as a confrontation between Islam and the West.
But here in America, Muslims and Christians are factually in a position to show that the circumstances of democracy can just as well foster a dialogue among the believers in the one God," Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore said in Washington, Dec. 8, 1995, in an address to an interreligious banquet in his honor sponsored by the American Muslim Council. The council gave Keeler its Mahmoud Abu Saud Excellence Award for 1995. I
n his acceptance, the cardinal urged Muslims and Catholics to work together to promote "a restoration of basic moral teaching in the public schools"; oppose all forms of pornography, "especially that directed at children"; and approach media leaders and advertisers "regarding immorality and violence in the media." Noting that the interfaith banquet was held on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Keeler said: "Catholics are delighted to learn that there are more verses in the Qur'an -- 34 of them -- which name the Blessed Virgin Mary than there are in the whole New Testament."
He said that while Muslims do not believe that Mary is the mother of God, they hold her in great esteem. Keeler said that although a "radical difference in faith forever separates us" with regard to Mary, "it paradoxically also holds us forever in conversation." (http://www.usccb.org/seia/keeler.shtml).