"We all believe in one God, who sent messengers for the good of humanity in this world and the hereafter," said King Abdullah. "God's will, praise be to Him, was that people should differ in their faiths. If the Almighty had so desired, all mankind would have shared the same religion. We are meeting today to affirm that the religions that God Almighty desired for the happiness of man, should be a means to ensure that happiness."
The World Conference on Dialogue, which is taking place in Madrid, Spain, brings together representatives of Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism and Confucianism to reinforce the common values shared by their respective faiths.
This conference follows a dialogue among Islamic scholars that took place in Makkah, Saudi Arabia in June. Last year, King Abdullah met with Pope Benedict XVI, in the first meeting between a Saudi King and the leader of the Catholic Church.
Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, said: "The idea stemmed from King Abdullah's view that there are universal values that are common to all faiths, and that if we focus on those universal values we will see that there is a lot more that binds us as human beings than divides us."
The conference is focusing on four major themes:
1. The importance of dialogue in human society
2. The foundations of religious and civilizational dialogue
3. The common human aspects in dialogue
4. The evaluation and promotion of dialogue
King Abdullah concluded: "If we wish this historic meeting to succeed, we must focus on the common denominators that unite us, namely, deep faith in God, noble principles, and lofty moral values, which constitute the essence of religion."
The World Conference on Dialogue is taking place from July 16-18, 2008, and is the result of a call for interfaith dialogue by King Abdullah in May.