Saudi King to Attend UN Interfaith Dialogue


Riyadh: King Abdullah of  Saudi Arabia plans to attend a meeting at the United Nations next month to discuss his initiative to promote interfaith dialogue, reported the official Saudi Press Agency.
In remarks carried by the agency late Saturday, King Abdullah called for religious tolerance and said such dialogue is the duty of every human being. The king also urged fellow Muslims to reach out to non-Muslims as a way to show that Islam is not a violent religion.
``I will go to America for the dialogue of followers of religions,'' the king said at a meeting with Information Minister Ayad Madani and newspaper editors. ``The dialogue comes a time when the world is criticizing Islam.''
``It is regrettable that some of our sons have been tempted by Satan or brothers of Satan,'' added the king, referring to Muslim militants who have carried out attacks around the world. ``Nothing can purify (Islam's reputation) except for the extension of Muslims' hands to their brothers in other religions.''
The King has taken a leading role in bringing adherents of different sects and religions together. In the past few years, he has encouraged dialogue between the kingdom's Sunni majority and Shiite minority.
Earlier this year, he brought together different Muslim sects for a meeting in the holy city of Mecca. In July, he presided over a gathering of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists among other religions hosted by Spain.
Saudi newspapers this month quoted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as saying that the General Assembly will discuss the king's interfaith initiative in mid-November, on Saudi Arabia's national day.

On the global financial crisis, the king said that the world is now facing a ``covert economic war.'' He said he told Gulf finance ministers and central bank governors on Saturday that while the ``Gulf is fine, it is targeted for destabilization,'' according to SPA.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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