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H.E. Faisal Bin Abdulla Al-Mohmoud, Minister of Endowment & Religious Affairs inaugurated the Conference works in Sheraton Doha       

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Gulf Times/ Call for building trust
2008-05-14
Wednesday, 14 May, 2008, 01:34 AM Doha Time


Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs HE Faisal bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud (third from right) delivering the opening address at the 6th Doha Conference of Inter-faith Dialogue yesterday. Also seen (from left) are Aisha al-Mannai, Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayyib, Cardinal Jean-Louis Turan , Rabbie Rene Gautman and Ibrahim Salih al-Naimi
By Ramesh Mathew
SPEAKERS attending the 6th Doha Conference of Inter-faith Dialogue in Doha yesterday called for strengthening mutual trust and confidence among people of different faiths by discovering more common areas where they could meet.
The two-day conference which got under way the Sheraton yesterday is being held under the aegis of Doha International Center for Inter-faith Dialogue. Religious heads of Muslims, Christians and Jewish faiths from more than 30 countries are taking part.
Opening the conference, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs HE Faisal bin Abdulla al-Mahmoud called upon the participants to strengthen co-operation and thus help common people prevent prejudices and misconceptions about each other.
He said that meaningful dialogues held at such conferences could produce better results in the long run and help improve understanding among different faiths.

A view of the gathering at the opening of the conference. Pictures: Noushad Thekkayil
The minister said experiences had proved that dialogue was the most effective weapon to improve trust among people of different faiths. “However, religious leaders are duty-bound to carry this message down to man on the streets and thus help the mankind spread the universal message of peace and brotherhood.”
Al-Mahmoud promised that Qatar would continue to usher in efforts that it felt would improve relations between people of different faiths in coming years.
Lauding the participants for responding to Qatar’s invitation, the minister said their presence demonstrated the desire to attain global peace.
Later, president of Pontifical Council for inter-religious dialogues from The Vatican Cardinal Jean-Louis Turan asserted that “no religion could make a war, but as history teaches, its followers sometimes do make war.”
The Vatican representative said: “I am particularly grateful for the presence in our midst of members of the Muslim faith and I express my appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, both at the local and international level,” he said. The Cardinal assured that the church wanted to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole.
Recalling his participation at the 2nd edition of the Doha conference four years ago, Cardinal Turan lauded the efforts being jointly made by the Faculty of Shari’ah and Gulf Centre for Studies and the Qatar ministry of foreign affairs in ensuring its continuity in the same vigour.
The Cardinal said that he was only too happy to be the representative of the Pope Benedict XVI for inter-religious dialogues.
Remembering the roles played by him in preserving a lot of valuable Arabic and Islamic manuscripts at the Pontifical Vatican Library and also at the Secret Archives of the Holy See, the Cardinal said he felt honoured while attending the Doha conference in 2004.
The Pontifical representative attributed the absence of the Pope from last year’s conference to some “communication and technical problems”.
His non-participation should not give any cause for anxiety that the engagement of the Catholic Church in inter-religious dialogues was any less, said the Cardinal.
Representing the Jewish faith, Rabbie Rene Gautman of France said the highest position in the love of people must be taken by the love of man and it must extend to all human beings, despite all differences in opinion.
“There is no doubt that repairing of the world in its many ramifications is a precondition and vital need for the realisation of our spiritual vocation. Each country that respects itself doesn’t and can’t be satisfied with its narrow boundaries and limited domains. Rather each nation must bring all that is good and beautiful, that is helpful and glorious to its national, cultural and spiritual treasure. And each must contribute to its own blessings to the heritage of humanity as a whole,” he said.
President of Doha International Center for Inter-faith dialogue Ibrahim Salih al-Naimi and Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayyib (Egypt) also spoke.
Aisha Yousef al-Mannai, Dean of College of Shari’ah at Qatar University, was the moderator.

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