Letter: Earth mother

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Your leading article ignores a significant hazard in moves to declare the Virgin Mary "co-redemptor" ("Mary, Mary, once contrary", August 24) .

A shared devotion to Mary forms a precious link between Christianity and Islam. The Koran speaks of her at even greater length than the Bible, confirms her virgin birth, and celebrates her as one of the great prophets.

The Second Vatican Council firmly rejected moves to make Mary a "redeemer" alongside her son on the doctrinal grounds that her compassion proceeds only from the grace merited by Christ's sacrifice. If that decision is now reversed, making of Mary a goddess figure unrecognisable to Muslims or other monotheists, the present hopeful atmosphere of shared devotion to God and commitment to moral renewal in the world will be gravely damaged. We urge the Vatican to rein in this particular enthusiasm.

Abdal Hakim Murad