Interfaith conference held in Geneva

October 2, 2009

Under the patronage of Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz, an international conference began Wednesday in Geneva within the framework of the “Initiative for Interfaith Dialogue” launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Organized by the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL), the two-day event has brought together representatives from religions and cultures around the world.

Addressing the gathering, the head of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Dr. Bandar Al-Eiban, stressed King Abdullah’s steadfast commitment to the dialogue process. He noted the King’s earlier comments that focusing on the differences between civilizations only paves the way for fanaticism and violence. Conversely, finding common ground is the best way to realize tolerance 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 center of knowledge, science, and tolerance and a forum for cooperation between civilizations.

The gathering in Geneva is the third of its kind. King Abdullah previously sponsored the International Islamic Conference for Dialogue, held in Makkah in June 2008, and the World Conference on Dialogue, held in Madrid in July 2008. The recommendations of those summits were presented in November 2008 at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue in New York.