Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saudi king calls for interfaith dialogue

Would you be surprised to learn that the ruler of a nation that permits only one faith to be practiced has called for an interfaith dialogue between Muslims, Jews and Christians?

I certainly was. But that's apparently what King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia (right) has done. It's an unprecedented attempt to reach across religious boundaries.

Caryle Murphy, an American journalist living in Saudi Arabia, has written an interesting analysis of the development, "What's Behind the Saudi Monotheism Summit?" She quotes John L. Esposito, founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, as saying Abdullah’s proposal "is potentially an important and significant move forward in terms of the king sending a signal – not only to the world but also to the more rejectionist types who are theologically very narrow-minded – that we’re going to open up."

I firmly believe that opening up -- talking with the "other" -- is humanity's best hope for peace and mutual understanding ... if, that is, all sides are willing to listen as well as talk. It would be a lot easier to take Abdullah seriously if he'd loosen up religious restrictions in his own kingdom.

What do you think could be the benefits or pitfalls of King Abdullah's proposed summit?


Anonymous said...

"Distressed by what he described as disintegrating family ties, a rise in atheism ... the king announced plans for a new interfaith dialogue..."

A worldwide coalition to fight alternative lifestyles and atheism? Social and religious conservatives from around the world would support the cause, including Al-Qaeda, Iran and the Taliban.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Until the King allows his own people, or anyone for that matter, to practice the faith of their choice in his own country, I'm not buying it. All western nations allow Islam to be practiced on their ground, so allow Christians, Jews, etc. to do the same on his. That would also include allowing women the ability to live and move freely as well.


Anonymous said...

A lot of the Pew Forum article is about what the West thinks the proposal means. For example, it quotes White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino, "' can only give us hope that there would be further recognition of everyone's right to ... freedom of expression and religion.'"

And Rabbi Yona Metzger said, "'Our hand is outstretched to any peace initiative and any dialogue that is aimed at bringing an end to terror and violence.'"

But the king said, "... the purpose of a dialogue would be 'to agree on something that would maintain humanity against those who tamper (with) religions, ethics and family systems.'"

The King isn't proposing a dialogue about democracy or peace. I don't presume to know another motivation for his proposal other than what he says. As an atheist, viewer of porn, and supporter of Gay marriage, I hope social and religious conservatives continue doubting his sincerity.

Anonymous said...

How about St. MATTHEWS in BALLANTYNE ; By now the Catholic Religion should be looking at the inside for a PEDAFILE FARM that is going on. Look all Religions have had their farts playing around with Hookers, little boys and little girls; Isnt it time for the Carolinas to make the age of consent 18 rather than 14 like it is in S.C. People you are just asking for trouble with this age of 14 years of age.

Anonymous said...

Jane isnt Religion in our Governmnet a farse anyway! Come on the Commander and Chef has to order assasins and People to go to war , why not leave this to CEASAR and not a Person with conviction. Why force Religion into our Politics and ruin impurify Religion.

Anonymous said...

Im glad the KING is calling for truce in Religions ; Everyone should go to their corner and pray to their GOD .

Anonymous said...

I'm with porn student...we need to listen to what he is actually saying rather than just trying to twist it in such a way that it says what we want it to. I say listen...but keep the guard up.

Anonymous said...

Some spelling corrections:


Iztok said...

From tne linked article: "an imbalance of reason, ethics and humanity," the king announced plans for a new interfaith dialogue

Imbalance of reason? Darn right, but coming from religious who put more emphasis on faith then reason? Reason is the enemy of faith.

Iztok said...

Maye we should sit the following five behind the table to start interfaith dialogue?

Hassan Nasrallah
Religion: Shiite Islam
Who is he?: Secretary-General of Hezbollah
Country: Lebanon

Joseph Kony
Religion: Christianity/personality cult
Who is he?: Commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
Country: Uganda

Yogi Adityanath
Religion: Hinduism
Who is he?: Religious leader and member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous province
Country: India

Athuraliye Rathana
Religion: Theravada Buddhism
Who is he?: Monk and member of parliament
Country: Sri Lanka

Dov Lior
Religion: Hasidic Judaism
Who is he?: Head rabbi of Kiryat Arba settlement
Country: Israel

JayCee said...

I think the summit will result in the king allowing non-Muslims to build churches or synagogues in Mecca and Medina, and in the Pope allowing mosques and synagogues to be built in Vatican City. Then the day will have come when we see donkeys fly.

Come to think of it, Christians and Jews are missing a big opportunity by not imitating the Saudis’ policy of barring non-Muslims from their holy cities. Jews could bar anyone not Jewish from New York, Miami Beach and Beverly Hills; Christians could bar non-Christians from setting foot in Charlotte’s NASCAR Hall of Fame. There would be Muslims falling all over themselves in their haste to convert so they could visit those places.

Seriously, the king and his family fear that increased Islamic militarism in their region will lead to their overthrow. I don’t see his proposed summit, if it ever is held, being a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” type of exchange that will lead to global religious reforms. I see it as a ploy to convince the Saudi masses that Christians and Jews aren’t wild-eyed demons out to destroy Islam, and therefore has the primary purpose of swaying the Saudi middle and lower classes toward greater support for the royal family.

Anonymous said...

Prince bin talan Saudi is a good man and I think NEW YORK should have taken his gift during the 9-11 fiasco; You insulted the Prince because they had nothing to do with the attacks; The Saudis have tried to behead OSAMA BIN LADEN and capture him; Keep in mind OSAMA BIN LADEN's father was a billionaire who helped build U.S. Military bases in the Middle east. Prince Bin TALEN SAUDI is a large holder of Citibank stockholder and his family started out as NOMADS in the dessert. He often goes out , like his family did centuries ago and sleeps out in the dessert with his guards and family. Terrorism is made to polarize cultures and races ad that all; Terrorism is a hate mongering device brought here by SATAN and perpetrated by Man. Terrorism is made to 'DIVIDE and CONQUER' technique .

Anonymous said...

Spelling correction correction...


Anonymous said...

Funny how the followers of the three major monotheistic religions literally hate each other's guts.

I don't see this changing.

Monotheism is by its very nature intolerant. Even the slightest variation from the "truth" is suspect to the true believer.

Anonymous said...

So the good king is distressed by a rise in atheism, eh?

Well, he won't have to worry about this atheist crashing airplanes into buildings, that's for sure.

No god is promising me eternal sex for anything I do.

Anonymous said...

As the leader of a very conservative country, the king has every right to be distressed by a rise in atheism and those who tamper with religion, ethics and family systems.

After all, if someone will question the authority of "god",and the way things have always been, what's next?

Questioning the authority of the king?

All this erosion of traditional family values may lead to rampant homosexuality on earth (and not just in heaven) and - horrors upon horrors - democracy.