King Abdullah: Interfaith dialogue will foster peace

July 16, 2008

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz yesterday expressed the hope that interfaith dialogue would foster peace, understanding and unity. 

The King made the remarks in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica published today. The King is currently in Madrid to open the World Conference on Dialogue.

“We can remove mistrust and suspicions from our minds through the principle of dialogue, one that underscores human commonalities that find their expression in all religions, beliefs and cultures,” the King said. “We will then realize that values and principles that unite us are more than those dividing us.”

Such dialogue is part of Saudi Arabia’s Islamic beliefs, the King said, noting: “We are a nation of a sublime mission and deeply rooted cultural heritage. Our religion urges us to embrace the principle of dialogue and call upon us to cooperate and coexist in peace with others, and promote understanding, peace, accord and good values among all humankind.”

In the wide-ranging interview, King Abdullah also discussed Saudi efforts to stabilize the global oil market, its commitment to combating terrorism, its view that the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program should be resolved diplomatically and Saudi support for peace efforts in the Middle East. 

In addition, he urged the international community to make the global food crisis its top priority and outlined steps the Kingdom has taken to address the crisis, including a $500 million donation to the World Food Program and an initiative to provide energy to impoverished nations.

Asked if the United States had lost its traditional influence in the Middle East region, King Abdullah replied that Saudi Arabia would support any international effort to resolve regional crises as long as the effort is sincere with the goal of achieving security.

“Whether this effort is American, Russian, European, Islamic or Arab, we will not hesitate to support it as long as it is sincere and serious in dealing with these crises, and as long as it aims at achieving regional security and stability and prosperity, including the legitimate rights of the people of the region,” the King said.

“Our international friendships are based on the defense of those rights and interests of the region and its peoples and nothing else.”

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