The week-long fifth Parlaiment of World Religions just concluded in Melbourne, Australia. BYU professor Daniel C. Peterson chaired the popular session "Islam and the West: Creating an Accord of Civilizations," as reported at the Church's Australian website and, in a briefer account, at the LDS Newsroom blog.
Here is a summary of Peterson's remarks to the session as related by the Austrialian write-up:
On Tuesday Professor Daniel C. Peterson, from Brigham Young University, chaired one of the most talked-about sessions of the Parliament, titled, “Islam and the West: Creating an Accord of Civilizations.” Professor Peterson teaches Islamic Studies and Arabic at B.Y.U. and serves as editor-in-chief of the university’s Middle Eastern Texts Initiative.
During his closing remarks to the session, Professor Peterson cited the late Lutheran Bishop of Stockholm, Krister Stendahl, encouraging attendees who wished to learn about another religion to ask that faith’s adherents about what they love about it. He also said that we should compare “the best of our own faith tradition to the best of others’ religions; not our best to their worst.” Finally, he suggested that we should keep room for what Stendahl called “holy envy,” the capacity to see the good in other religions.
After the Parliament Peterson said that the Latter-day Saints’ involvement in the event “shows our willingness to serve as a bridge and to be a friend to all nations.”
A friend to all nations. That's a nice thought for the Christmas season.