Under the patronage of the Swiss President, Hans-Rudolf Merz, an International Conference has been held in Geneva - September 30 - October 1, 2009 - within the framework of the "Initiative for Interfaith Dialogue" launched by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. Organized by the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL), the two-day event has brought together representatives from religious organizations, foundations, academies, associations and prominent personalities from around the world.
Addressing the gathering, the head of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Dr. Bandar Al-Eiban, stressed King Abdullah's commitment to the dialogue process. In line with the King's earlier comments, he noted that focusing on the differences between civilizations paves the way for fanaticism and violence. Conversely, finding common ground is a way to realize respect and cooperation. The opening of the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST), said Dr. Al-Eiban, embodies King Abdullah's purpose. The new university, he noted, will be a centre of knowledge, science and a forum for cooperation between civilizations.
Other addresses stressed the importance of this dialogue initiative, amongst whom: Dr. Samuel Kobia Secretary General of WCC, Dr. Nava Natheem Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr. Abdullah Al.Turki Secretary General World Muslim League.The participants - in the final statement - called for the deepening of positive relationships amongst people of the world. In particular, the following important premises were emphasized:
Quote From Final Statement
a) Rejection of racial discrimination and racial superiority. People are equal in human dignity; they are not superior by race, colour or gender.
b) Diversity among human beings should result in mutual understanding and cooperation.
c) Differences in human beings and diversity of ethnicities, races and religions is a fact permitted by God; it is thus incumbent on the wise people . despite their differences . to seek common grounds through which to achieve mutual respect and understanding for the happiness of humanity.
d) (...) family disintegration and the decay of moral values (...) call for close cooperation to alleviate these problems through sharing our experience and expertise that contribute to effective solutions.
The general impression is that King Abdullah has done his part in paving the foundations of this historic "Initiative for Interfaith Dialogue" by visiting the Vatican, meeting the Pope, organizing the Madrid conference in 2008 and bringing together world leaders at the UN General Assembly to discuss the initiative. The momentum is therefore favourable to make progress in the understanding between different cultures, create respect and work for the common good.
The Foundation IFIIE has been invited to this important event by Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki Secretary General Muslim World League.