By Nour Abuzant
THE participants of the fifth Doha Conference of Inter-Faith Dialogue yesterday denounced the desecration and defamation of religious sites, symbols and figures.
In a statement issued at the end of the three-day conference, the participants spoke out against violent and disrespectful stereotypes “which feed phobias and hostilities between and within all religions.”
They committed themselves to support a new centre which is being established to foster better understanding among the world’s major monotheistic religions.
They called for enhancing knowledge and understanding of world religions and their spiritual systems and recommended the introduction of disciplines like comparative study of religions in the curricula of universities and institutions of higher education.
The participants extended their thanks to HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani “for his interest and patronage for the objectives of the conference and for his acceptance of the establishment of Doha International Centre for Inter-Faith Dialogue”.
Earlier yesterday, Qatar announced establishment of the new centre which will be based in Doha.
The centre will have a board of directors and an international advisory board.
The international advisory board consists of seven persons — three Muslims, three Christians and a Jew.
The board of directors will be chaired by Prof Ibrahim Saleh al-Nueimi, the former president of Qatar University. Its members include Dr Khalid bin Nasser al-Khater (professor and former dean, College of Business and Economics), Dr Yousef Mahmoud Siddiqi (College of Shariah and Islamic Studies), Dr Hassan Abdelraheem al-Sayyed (dean of College of Law) and Dr Hamed Abdulaziz al-Marwani (College of Shariah and Islamic Studies).
The international advisory board comprises Prof Aisha Yousef al-Mannai (dean of the College of Shariah and Islamic Studies, Qatar), Dr Dean Mohamed Sahed (assistant dean of the College of Shariah and Islamic Studies, Qatar), Prof Winston Cornell (director, King Fahd Centre for Middle East and Islamic Studies, Arkansas University), Dr Johan Taylor (ex-professor and UN representative of the International Society for Religious Freedom, Switzerland), Father Vitorio Yanari (theologist specialised in Islamic Studies Society of Saint Egdio, Italy), Bishop George Saleeba (Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Mount Lebanon) and Rabbi Rolando Matalon from the US.