Reconciliation Between Muslims and Christians

Collective Action, Norm Entrepreneurship, and “A Common Word Between Us”


  • Anas Malik

Anas Malik, Dept. of Political Science, Xavier University, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207,


“A Common Word Between Us,” an open letter from Muslim scholars to Christian leaders, is the most developed effort at Muslim-Christian reconciliation to date. Endorsed by well-known Muslim scholars from diverse sects and backgrounds, the letter emphasizes the central role of love of God and the Golden Rule in both religions and cites the catastrophic consequences of conflict. The signatories frame a norm of interreligious covenant for constructive collaborations, present their argument as an authoritative Islamic position, and effectively reject the clash-of-civilizations narrative. Using game-theory models to articulate strategic challenges facing interreligious initiatives, this essay argues that a norm of interreligious covenant can potentially produce successful collective action in situations resembling both coordination and prisoner's dilemma games, depending on the success of norm entrepreneurship.