MORE THAN 500 SCHOLARS FROM VARIOUS FAITHS ATTEND FORUM HOSTED BY KING ABDULLAH CENTER FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
VIENNA, Nov 21 – Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, deputy foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, said religions should not be blamed for conflicts among their followers. “These conflicts are the result of ignorance about religious values and objectives or because of the negative impression created about others. We should be cautious about spreading negative ideas about followers of other religions through curriculums or history books. We should not accept such antagonistic practices,” he said while addressing the global forum organized in Austrian capital by the King Abdullah International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).
More than 500 leaders, experts and scholars from around the world, including Mohammed Balighurrahman, Pakistan’s education minister, and Claudia Schmied, Austria’s education minister, attended the conference, which concluded in Vienna.
Highlighting the universal message of Haj, Prince Abdul Aziz said: “I’ve come from Saudi Arabia, which (recently) hosted the Haj pilgrimage, the largest gathering for peace in the world. Millions of Muslims gather here freed from all bonds. It is the highest manifestation of equality, tolerance and peace.” He said people of different colors, race and language assemble for the Haj. The minister noted that the translation movement during the height of Islamic rule had helped Muslims learn from other cultures.
In his speech, Saudi Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah said that his ministry and the Vienna-based King Abdullah dialogue center have plans to review academic curriculums to ensure students have a better understanding of other faiths. “This initiative also aims to develop greater understanding and awareness of other communities and create a new world of peace and tolerance,” Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, the Saudi education minister, recently told
The minister underscored the initiatives taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to promote global peace and greater understanding between the various faith communities, including establishing the KAICIID. “King Abdullah, along with the king of Sweden, launched another program entitled Messengers of Peace for World Scouts to spread the message of peace in 110 countries, with the participation of about 20 million young men and women,” the minister said. He said the program had begun at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, near Jeddah, with the participation of 7,000 scouts from 80 countries, representing different religions.
The KAUST is another initiative by King Abdullah to promote interfaith dialogue because it admits students from more than 60 countries from different faiths. “They study and research together to find solutions for the common problems of humanity such as poverty, food shortages, lack of energy, the water crisis and environmental problems that threaten present and future generations,” he said.–IINA