King Abdullah Interfaith Center Hosts Unity Conference
November 21, 2014
(WASHINGTON, DC) – The King Abdullah International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) in Vienna hosted a three-day interfaith conference this week titled, “United Against Violence in the Name of Religion.”
During the conference, high-level representatives of the major world religious and social institutions gathered to unite against violence in the name of religion, especially in the context of the recent crisis in Iraq and Syria.
Saudi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Nizar Madani stated, “Those who have embraced terrorism unfortunately attribute everything they do, every oppression they practice, to Islam. Islam has nothing to do with them.”
Religious leaders from communities across the Middle East jointly issued the Vienna Declaration. It emphasized the right of all to be treated with dignity and humanity regardless of their religious tradition. Atrocities committed in the name of religion are crimes against humanity, and crimes against religion. The declaration also rejected and denounced the support or sponsorship of terrorism.
Speaking after the meeting on Wednesday, KAICIID Secretary General Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar said, “The manipulation of religion in Iraq and Syria has horrific human consequences. Today we witnessed a reason for hope: the conviction and resolve of religious leaders from many different faiths, speaking with one voice, to say that ISIS and other extremist groups do not act in the name of religion.”
In 2011, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal signed an agreement with the then Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of European and International Affairs Dr. Michael Spindelegger and then-Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Trinidad Jiménez García-Herrera to establish the center to build and foster relations between different faiths and cultures. The Board of Directors is comprised of representatives of major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) and cultures. Additional information about the center is available at www.kaiciid.org.