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Peres to Participate in Interfaith Conference

President Shimon Peres (Photo: Amit Shabi)

President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will represent Israel at a United Nations-sponsored interfaith conference. The "Dialogue of Civilizations" conference grew from the Madrid Interfaith Conference in July, initiated by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.

Attendees at the conference include such high-profile figures as outgoing President George W. Bush, Spain's King Juan Carlos, Saudi King Abdullah, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, Jordan's King Abdullah, and Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Peres and Livni would like to bring Jewish, Muslim and Orthodox Christian leaders from Israel to the conference. They are enthusiastic about rubbing shoulders with dignitaries attending the meeting, including those from Arab nations that have no diplomatic ties with Israel.

"There is no need for us to be in conflict with any other country," Peres said. "We will make peace with anyone who wants to make peace with us," he said. (source: The Jerusalem Post)

New Saudi Initiative

Saudi King Abdullah Al Aziz

(March 28, 2008) King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia plans to schedule inter-religious discussions, bringing Muslims together with Christians and Jews, in an effort to counteract the growth of secularism. King Abdullah said that he had discussed the possibility of talks among leaders of the three monotheistic faiths during a meeting last November with Pope Benedict XVI. He said that he suggested the meetings, and the Pontiff reacted positively.

The purpose of the inter-religious talks would be to 'come up with ways to safeguard humanity,' King Abdullah said. He reasoned that religious leaders of every faith should unite to support family life and to fight against atheism.

The Saudi king said that family structure is breaking down and secularism is on the rise. 'That is unacceptable to all religions - to the Qu'ran, the Bible, and the New Testament,' he said.

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