Rabbi David Rosen

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Why We Have to Take the Saudis’ Interfaith Offer Seriously

by Rabbi David Rosen 11-28-2012
© IR Stone / Shutterstock

Illustration: All Religious Temples, © IR Stone / Shutterstock

Presidents, government ministers and religious leaders from around the world gathered in Vienna on Monday Nov. 26 for the gala launch of the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.

While Austria and Spain joined Saudi Arabia in establishing the center, it originated in a bold initiative by Saudi King Abdullah. Some years ago, the king convened representatives from all segments of the Muslim world in Mecca to support his call for Islam to engage the other world religions in addressing the social, scientific, and global challenges of our times.

He followed this up with an interfaith conference in Madrid co-hosted with King Juan Carlos of Spain and subsequently brought his initiative to the United Nations in 2008, hosting a gathering of world political leaders that included Israeli President Shimon Peres.