Vision 2030 consolidates the approach of religious and cultural coexistence
King Faisal sent team for interfaith dialogue with the Vatican in 1972
Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH – The World Interfaith Harmony Week, which falls in the first week of February (1-7) every year, aims to promote harmony between all peoples around the world regardless of their faith. It is a historical fact that Saudi Arabia embarked on a platform of interfaith dialogue nearly half a century ago when King Faisal sent a delegation to the Vatican. The first dialogue between Saudi Arabia and the followers of the Christianity took place in 1972 when a delegation of Saudi scholars visited the Vatican in line with King Faisal’s directive.
Former deputy minister of Islamic affairs, endowments, call and guidance Dr. Tawfiq Al-Sudairi affirmed that dialogue is meant not between religions but between its followers. Speaking to Al-Arabiya.net, he said: “Ever since its inception, Saudi Arabia is based on the principles of tolerance, justice and acceptance of others, and this is obvious from the relations that Saudi Arabia has built with most of the countries of the world in its capacity as a founding member of many international organizations, the most important of which are the United Nations and the Arab League.”
Al-Sudairi that the Saudi Vision 2030, launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, consolidates the approach of coexistence, peace and love between various religions and cultures, and increases its power and strength.
He pointed out that the dialogue between followers of religions and those of other cultures in the world aims to achieve peaceful coexistence. “Many of those who call for exclusion and violence from different cultures make religion a cover for them and their false religious notions emanate from their wrong understanding of the faith and this prompted Saudi Arabia to strive from an early age to hold dialogue between followers of various religions and cultures.”
Visit to the Vatican
Al-Sudairi noted that the first dialogue took place between Saudi Arabia and the followers of Christianity when a delegation of Saudi scholars visited the Vatican in 1972 in line with instructions from King Faisal, who directed at that time to embark on a dialogue with the Pope and other Christian leaders in the Vatican on many vital issues.
“Saudi Arabia seized every opportunity to promote dialogue, whether it is under the umbrella of international organizations such as the United Nations or others, and also established the King Abdullah International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID). The founding countries of the center are Saudi Arabia, Spain and Austria, in addition to the Vatican as an observer founder.”
Involvement in every dialogue initiative
Al-Sudairi pointed out that Saudi Arabia did not stop there, but rather tended to contribute to every activity, whether it was conference or programs at various levels related to dialogue between followers of religions and cultures to consolidate a culture of peace and love.
“This is what Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman have emphasized in many international fora in addition to their directives to the competent authorities, in the diplomatic, cultural and religious realms. All the Saudi authorities and institutions work in harmony in this field to reach the consolidation of a culture of peace throughout the world,” he said.
On achieving the goals, Al-Sudairi clarified that Saudi Arabia was able to achieve its goals through two tracks; the first is mature policies based on tolerance and justice and the inclusion of others with no compromise on fundamental principles, while the second track includes heading to institutional work on the issue of dialogue among followers of religions as the most permanent and consistent way in further consolidating the foundations of peace and love among peoples.
Spreading peace and justice
In order to achieve a fruitful dialogue between followers of religions, Al-Sudairi affirmed that the efforts exerted in the field of dialogue do not affect the belief side of the followers of religions, but rather relate to matters of coexistence and spreading a culture of peace, love and justice in all parts of the world. He said that KAICIID hosted several meetings in which followers of various divine religions, cultures and philosophies from Asia, Africa, Latin America or other parts of the world participated. “The field is open to all since they live on this planet. This necessitates a formula for coexistence between people and dialogue, which is the need of the hour,” he added.