MAKKAH: The Muslim World League (MWL) will organize a global interfaith dialogue in Madrid on July 16, it was announced here yesterday. Leading personalities representing various monotheistic religions would participate in the three-day conference, which would discuss various topics, including social amity, international cooperation, human rights and peaceful co-existence, said Abdullah Al-Turki, secretary-general of the MWL. "The call for dialogue between various religions, cultures, civilizations and ideologies by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah at a conference organized by the MWL early this month was, in fact, a call from Makkah, which is the venue of divine inspiration, the source of the Islamic message and the qibla (the direction of prayer) of Muslims," Al-Turki said.
The MWL cheif said King Abdullah's initiative has been hailed unanimously by the Muslim world, which was represented at the conference by prominent scholars and thinkers. "The MWL received numerous calls from Muslim and international organizations, research centers, individuals and scholars, emphasizing the need for holding an international conference in which scholars of all faiths and ideologies and promoters of justice and peace in the world can participate so that the deliberations of the Makkah conference could be discussed," he said.
An action program for interfaith dialogues with the aim of guaranteeing a safe future for mankind was drawn up at the Makkah conference. The conference also stressed the need to build a bridge of mutual understanding and co-existence between various people so that the world would be free from the evils of war, injustice, violence, terrorism, drugs and depravity, Al-Turki said. He added that the Madrid conference would discuss major topics, such as the religious and cultural roots of dialogue, moral values of contemporary man, and the role of religion in combating crimes, drugs and corruption.
The last international conference on interfaith dialogue that took place at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah called on all people, irrespective of their race, religion, culture or country, to come together to promote a culture of peace and tolerance. "The conference has been held at a time when the world faces countless challenges that threaten the very existence of mankind. The conference affirms that Islam has a solution to these crises and it is calling upon all Muslims, jointly with other people, to find solutions to all issues," a communiqué issued at the end of the Makkah conference said.
The call to have Muslims and non-Muslims work together to solve problems afflicting the world came with a recommendation to set up a center for dialogue to be named King Abdullah International Center for Cultural Relations and the establishment of King Abdullah Prize for Cultural Dialogue. The communiqué also stressed the need for people to unite in their efforts against the waste of natural resources and the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.
Saudi-sponsored interfaith meet to be held in SpainSat Jun 21, 2008 RIYADH, June 21 (Reuters) - 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.
Officials at Spain's foreign ministry were not immediately available for comment.
"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.
It was not clear why Spain, which Saudi Crown Prince Sultan visited earlier this month, would host the gathering.
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".
Islamist militants launched a violent campaign against the monarchy in 2003, denouncing the rulers as un-Islamic, and an al Qaeda video on Islamist websites attacked clerics who backed the interfaith plan as "sycophants".
Riyadh has been making efforts to build better ties with Washington and improve its international image after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, in which 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudi.
Saudi Shi'ite dissidents have complained that few Shi'ites were invited to this month's meeting in the holy city of Mecca.
Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the most prominent Shi'ite in attendance, told the meeting the dialogue should address political issues concerning Western influence in the Muslim world, citing Iraq and the Palestinian issue. (Reporting by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Catherine Evans) http://uk.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUKL2140068620080621