THE Madrid Conference on Dialogue was attended by around 300 eminent personalities and representatives from among the followers of the three revealed religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, as well as by representatives of Oriental philosophies, cultures and civilizations. Among the attendees were the Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress Michael Schneider and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, in charge of dialogue between the Vatican and Muslims and the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has recently launched his own Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
I had the opportunity to take to some religious leaders who took part in the deliberation. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at The Vatican City and an important participant, told me in an interview, “This is a very courageous initiative.
It has produced a positive image. The King’s speech is a very positive step. He spoke of staring a new page and I think this is effectively very good progress because we as believers have many things in common. We must work together so that the work would be more fraternal.”
Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, the former Deputy Chairman of the Shoura Council of Saudi Arabia and the Presently, Secretary General of the International Islamic Council for Relief and Dawah, said, “King Abdullah said why we don’t forget about the differences and bring out the common things in our religions towards eliminating what is happening in the society and improve the positive side and work together as a team so that we do not allow people to misinterpret our religion or give the fatwas that are not applicable to us. This is the idea behind this conference and I think until now it has been a big success.”
Congressman Jose de Venecia, Jr., Chairman of the Christian Democratic International Asia Pacific and Founding Chairman of International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), said, “The time has come for all of us as God’s children to unite and to reason and dialogue together, as what King Abdullah is doing and as King of Spain was trying to reconcile through reasoning and dialogue with patience and creativity; see how we can reconcile various religious, cultures and civilizations; because we are all God’s children and one human family under one God.”
“The leaders of great religions just like King Abdullah or the leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, or the Pope in The Vatican or the Archbishop of the Church of England or the religious leaders of Buddhism, Hinduism all of them are great men of wisdom and great reasoning. It’s only a few of the followers who are extremists and who are ignorant and are trying to precipitate these crisis in the world,” said the Vice President Vineciro. . . .
National Communications Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Ibrahim Hooper, said, “I think it is a ground-breaking effort and people of all faiths need to be behind it and promote it. I hope to see more such conferences in the near future.
“I think it is important to come together to discuss not only the differences but also what they have in common; because we actually have more in common than we realize.” (MORE)