In July 2008 many scoffed when King Abdullah, partnered with King Juan Carlos of Spain, hosted the National Dialogue in Madrid towards opening up discussion and minds of differing religions and practices. The naysayers said it was just another opportunity for King Abdullah to appear as if he were making progressive reforms in allowing Saudis to discuss religions other than Islam. Naysayers further declared with confidence, “Nothing will come of this Madrid initiative. After a few weeks it will be all but forgotten.”
When will naysayers begin to learn and believe that King Abdullah is a man of his word and of his honor? When will naysayers recognize that King Abdullah is 86 years old yet has a progressive mind? In fact, a recent article in Arab News highlights more ways which King Abdullah will be remembered for his word, generosity and open mind.
In a few weeks, the King Abdullah Interfaith Dialogue Center will open in Vienna, Austria as a recommendation made during the National Dialogue held in Madrid back in 2008. The Center’s aim is to continue to foster greater understanding and awareness between differing faiths and cultures which were initially highlighted in Madrid.
The Center will host seminars, conferences, dialogues and other events bringing together individuals of different backgrounds and faiths. King Abdullah is a visionary who understands that without taking the first steps towards reaching out to one another in spite of perceived or real differences, there can be no progress towards global peace and stability.
What specific topics would you like to see discussed at the Center or organized by the Center? Do you think Vienna is a good neutral location of an Interfaith Center? And last but certainly not least, what is YOUR definition of an International Interfaith Dialogue Center?
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