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Saudi-sponsored interfaith meeting to be held in Spain

ICC Note

Interfaith meetings should be encouraged because of their utility in creating understanding. But the meetings should also be held with sincerity. Countries such as Saudi Arabia that are exporting intolerant version of Islam should stop doing so, if they are really sincere about freedom of religion.

06/23/2008 Saudi Arabia (Christian Today)- Saudi Arabia and Spain have agreed to hold an interfaith dialogue of Muslims, Christians and Jews in Madrid in July, Saudi media reported on Saturday.

The dialogue, called for by King Abdullah after he won the backing of Sunni and Shi’ite clerics at a meeting in Mecca this month, will be held on July 16-18 by the Saudi-based World Muslim League, the Saudi Press Agency said.

“Prominent figures among followers of the divine messages will take part in dialogue concerning life in human societies, international cooperation, human rights, and issues of security, peace and living together in the world,” said a statement carried by the agency.

“Divine messages” usually refers to the three monotheistic religions and it was not clear if representatives from other religious traditions, faiths and philosophies would attend.

The king’s call for dialogue, which followed a meeting with Pope Benedict at the Vatican last year, has sparked interest from Jewish and Christian groups around the world.

Although Saudi Arabia , home to Islam’s holiest sites, sees itself as the leader of Sunni Islam, bringing Christian and Jewish figures to a conference in Saudi Arabia would have posed problems, observers said.

Saudi Arabia ‘s royal family rules in a traditional pact with clerics who belong to a school of Sunni Islam called Wahhabism which brands Shi’ites and non-Muslims as “infidels”.

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