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Saudi Arabia : Muslim leaders welcome royal call for interfaith-dialogue

ICC Note

“The world at this moment needs this dialogue,”

March 26,2008 Saudi Arabia (AKI) – Islamic religious leaders have welcomed Saudi King Abdullah’s plea on Monday for dialogue among Muslims, Christians and Jews, according to a report on the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.

The proposal for such a dialogue comes amid anger expressed by some Muslims at Pope Benedict XVI’s baptism at Easter of a Muslim journalist, Magdi Allam, who had converted to Catholicism.

Among the Muslim religious leaders that have supported King Abdullah’s proposal for interfaith dialogue is the secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Akmal Ihsan Oglo.

“All of humanity needs the dialogue that has been suggested by the Saudi king with the objective to save the nations,” he was quoted as saying in the Al-Hayat report.

The Saudi king’s plea also received support from the Egyptian ulema or religious leaders.

“The world at this moment needs this dialogue,” said the professor of Muslim rights at the Al-Azhar university in Cairo , Saad Sabah.

The Saudi King made his proposal for dialogue between Muslims, Christians and Jews, during a conference in Riyadh on dialogue between the Islamic world and Japan .

King Abdullah said that he had already spoken to Pope Benedict XVI about the idea during his visit to the Vatican in November last year and he said that the pope “shared” the sentiment.

The Saudi proposal is the first for a country that has no official ties with Israel and bans non-Muslim religious services and symbols.

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