London, July 16 : The Archbishop of Cantebury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has described key elements of the Christian Trinity doctrine as being offensive to Muslims.
The Trinity is the Christian doctrine stating God exists as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and conflicts with Islamic teaching that there is one all-powerful God.
In a letter to Islamic scholars, Dr. Williams also spoke critically of the violent past of both Christianity and Islam, and of Christianity's abandonment of its peaceful origins.
Keen to promote closer dialogue and understanding between the two faiths, Dr. Williams letter covers difficult issues, including religious freedom and religiously inspired violence, and according to The Telegraph, it is in response to a document written last year by Muslim scholars from 43 countries. That letter was described by the archbishop as polite and well meaning.
Discussing differences between the religions, Dr. Williams acknowledges that Christian belief in the Trinity is "difficult, sometimes offensive, to Muslims".
Speaking about the history of the two religions, Dr Williams said they had been too often confused with Empire and control.
"There is no religious tradition whose history is exempt from such temptation and such failure. What we need as a vision for our dialogue is to break the current cycles of violence, to show the world that faith and faith alone can truly ground a commitment to peace which definitively abandons the tempting but lethal cycle of retaliation in which we simply imitate each other's violence," he said.
The 17-page letter, called A Common Word for the Common Good, is in response to a letter from Muslim leaders written last September.
That letter, A Common Word Between Us and You, was signed by 138 Muslim scholars to declare the common ground between the two religions.