200 religious leaders to attend Madrid Interfaith Conference


Makkah : The Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) has extended invitation to some 200 prominent religious figures representing Islam, Christianity and Judaism from around the world to attend the forthcoming global interfaith dialogue conference.

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MWL, in cooperation with the Spanish government, will organize the conference in Madrid, capital of Spain, on July 16-18. “There was an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Spain regarding the conference being convened in the Spanish capital. The conference would discuss various topics, including social amity, international cooperation, human rights and peaceful co-existence,” said Dr. Abdullah Al Turki, secretary-general of MWL. The call for dialogue conference was made by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz after he won the backing of leading Islamic scholars from across the world at the International Islamic Dialogue Conference held in Makkah earlier this month.

Rahmatullah Inayatullah, director of conferences at Muslim World League (MWL), said that the leading figures to whom invitations have so far been sent include former US Vice-President Al Gore, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, Unesco Secretary-General Koshiro Matsura, Head of the Papal Council for Dialogue with Religions Jan Loi Toran, Fourth Archbishop of Hartford Henry J. Mansell, Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches Dr. Guirgis Saleh and Head of the Indian Sikh Council Paramjit Singh Sarna. Invitations were also sent to several other Christian and Jewish leaders, including official of the EU Rabbi Council, Jewish Reform Federation Chairman, and the chief of the Protestant Bishops Council.

Dr Abdullah Al Turki, secretary-general of MWL, said that the league will organize the conference in Madrid, capital of Spain, on July 16-18.

According to Dr. Al Turki, the call for dialogue between various religions, cultures, civilisations and ideologies by King Abdullah at the recent Makkah conference was, in fact, a call from Makkah, which is the venue of divine inspiration, the source of the Islamic message and the Qibla (the direction of prayer) of Muslims. He noted that King Abdullah’s initiative has been hailed unanimously by the Muslim world, which was represented at the conference by prominent scholars and thinkers.

“The MWL received numerous calls from Muslim and international organizations, research centers, individuals and scholars, emphasizing the need for holding an international conference in which scholars of all faiths and ideologies and promoters of justice and peace in the world can participate so that the deliberations of the Makkah conference could be discussed,” he said adding an action program for interfaith dialogues with the aim of guaranteeing a safe future for mankind was drawn up at the Makkah conference.