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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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Peninsula / Conference of Interfaith Dialogue opens
2008-05-13
5/14/2008 2:8:56
Source ::: The Peninsula
(From left) Dr Aisha Al Mannai, Prof. Ahmed Mohamed Al Tayyib, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, H E Faisal bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, Rabbi Rene Gautman and Prof Ibrahim Salih Al Naimi at the opening session of the Sixth Doha Interfaith Dialogue yesterday.
doha The sixth Doha Conference of Interfaith Dialogue opened here yesterday on an optimistic note with prominent speakers saying that this annual event has started delivering tangible results.

The conference, titled "Religious values: Perspective on peace and respect for life," is being organised jointly by the Qatar University, the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Opening the conference at the Doha Sheraton, H E Faisal bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, said, "We all see from the theme of this conference and its discussions a clear evidence of the success it achieved in terms of interfaith dialogue as well as the goals we wanted to achieve through the previous conferences. In addition to this, there is the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue, which is a real achievement of the previous recommendations."

He said that the previous conferences focussed on the importance of interfaith dialogue and it was important to proceed to more practical issues, which are being discussed in the current conference.
A section of the audience at the conference. (ABDUL BASIT

"This indicates clearly that scholars from various faiths have achieved more proximity in their thoughts. The dialogue has started delivering its fruits by securing cooperation among the religions to play a bigger role for the best interests of mankind," he said.

Al Mahmoud further pointed out that the topic of the conference is a clear evidence of this realization. "In this era, we hear a lot about human rights and freedom, such as the freedom of expression, freedom of choice and religious freedom. But it seems people have forgotten one of the most important human rights- the right to life. The other rights have no meaning without this," he said.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter religious Dialogue (Vatican City), said, "I noted with satisfaction that the Qatari people are courageous and maintain their promises. For example, they promised to widen the conference to include Jews and to create an international structure for dialogue- both promises have been maintained."

He said he was glad to note the participation of the Catholic Church and of the Holy See in this initiative. "The absence of the Holy See from the fifth conference, last year, was due to communication and technical problems and should not give any cause for anxiety that the engagement of the Catholic Church in inter-religious dialogue is any less."

"As religious leaders let us promote a sound pedagogy of peace, which is taught in the family, in the mosques, in the synagogues, in the churches, in our schools, in our universities. Religions do not make war, unfortunately- as history teaches us-their followers sometimes make war," said Tauran.

Rabbi Rene Gautman, Jewish scholar from France and Professor Ahmed Mohamed Al Tayyib, Muslim scholar from Egypt, also addressed the opening session. "Our faiths are different. Judaism is not Christianity, Christianity is not Islam, the Abrahamic monotheisms are different from eastern mysticism on the one hand, and from scientific humanism on the other. Yet when we bring our respective heritages of wisdom to public domain, we have no need to wish to convert others. Instead we are tacitly saying, if this speaks to you, then please take it as our gift. Indeed it is yours already for wisdom belongs to us all," said Gautman.

Dr Aisha Al Mannai, Dean of the faculty of Islamic Shariah at Qatar University, chaired the session.

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