Under the auspices of the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs His Excellency Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud opened on Tuesday 25 April 2006 the Doha 4th Interfaith Conference.
In his inaugural speech, H E the Minister of State for foreign Affairs noted the primary basis from which emanated all the three divine messages, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, centred on believing in the One and Only God, which inclines all mankind to establish an all-inclusive relationship, based on reciprocal respect and a refined and proactive interaction.
“We, in the State of Qatar, under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, staunchly believe in such concepts and values. We, thus, regard the interfaith dialogue as a concept which promotes disambiguation and clear stating of views rather than argumentation, and stimulates reaching out to the other and getting to know one another,” His Excellency Al Mahmoud pointed out, adding that “we view it as a pragmatic and realistic dialogue that seeks to propagate coexistence among people with dignity, justice, security and peace.”
“The insults levelled at prophets, apostles and angels, which fuelled the sentiments of believers and followers of the three divine religions and prejudiced their beliefs, are by all means unacceptable and unjustifiable. Such phenomena are manifestations of discrimination. They are inconsistent with the principles of coexistence and even contradict the very concepts of justice and open-mindedness,” H E Al Mahmoud elaborated.
Following his address, Dr. Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq, Egyptian Minister of Awqaf (endowments), George Saliba Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Rabbi Samuel Serat from UNESCO office in Paris delivered speeches in which they praised Qatar’s hosting of such an important conference, which discusses vital issues related to the lives of all the peoples of Earth, no matter what their religions are, describing Islam as a religion of peace and dialogue, calling for solidarity among people and followers of monotheist religions.
The interfaith dialogue focuses on several themes as: religions and civil rights, freedom of expression and the religious sanctities, religion, woman and the family, religious pluralism and respect for others, religions and protection of the environment, religion and the strengthening of moral values, religion and globalization, and religion and the contemporary global developments.
The 4th interfaith conference aims at bringing out the effectiveness of religions in order to establish the human civilization. It reflects on of the orientations of Qatar in the world peace and dialogue between civilizations under the leadership of H.H. the emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The conference aims at enhancing civilization and cultural approach between the peoples by rejecting the tendencies and conflicts of some thinkers who call for clash of civilizations and religions.
The conference aims at narrowing the gap between faiths and civilizations to achieve a peace and understanding between the peoples as well as demonstrating the moderate vision of faiths away from extremism and controversial issues that touches faiths.