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World Conference on Dialogue

Chairman’s Summary

World Conference on Dialogue

Vienna, 13 – 14 July 2009

Following the initiative of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, announced at the Madrid World Conference on Dialogue held on 15 – 17 July 2008, the present conference has taken up the task of providing an effective way forward for inter religious dialogue.

This follow up conference, based on the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and organized by the World Muslim League, is founded upon the recommendation of the United Nations General Assembly at its High Level meeting held on November 12, 2008 called in response to the royal initiative given in his address to scholars and leaders representing different regions.

Our conference held here in Vienna on 13th and 14th of July 2009 has discussed joint practical steps necessary to implement the royal initiative in a spirit of warm support and appreciation from the representatives of the religions and institutions gathered here.

During the conference we have discussed a range of important issues positively and constructively and in particular:

The importance of freedom of religion; our common responsibilities for preserving the environment and the human heritage; inter religious dialogue as an instrument to achieve peace and reconciliation; the increased role of women and young people in dialogue; respect for human dignity  in a plural society; joint efforts towards a better common future for humanity.

These discussions and deliberations have resulted in the following conclusions:

  1. Renewal of the commendation of the initiative of the Two Holy Mosques and appreciation of his sincere call to all religions to respect human dignity in keeping with the declaration at the World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid. In his address the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques said “We believe in one single God, Who has sent messengers for the good of mankind in this life and in the hereafter. His divine wisdom (Exalted be He) made people to differ in their belief, if He so wanted, He would have made us followers of one single religion, we are gathered here today to ascertain that the religion willed to us by God to make humanity happy should thus be a mean to their happiness”.
  2. Accordingly, I am happy to announce that we, on this basis, have discussed the establishment of an institution to work as an international center for inter religious dialogue as proposed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and to this end have constituted a Preparatory Working Group (PWG) comprised of representatives from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religions and the President of the International Peace Institute (IPI) as the convener of the PWG. The PWG has been established in consultation with the representatives of the Muslim World League and the representatives of the other world religions gathered here. The PWG will make recommendations for the composition of a Steering Committee comprised of named representatives from the world’s major religions this autumn.
  3. The next meeting of the PWG will take place as soon as possible.
  4. The Steering Committee’s mandate will be to present detailed proposals for the establishment of an institution to work as an international center for inter religious dialogue – including its mission, organization, governing structure, terms of reference and other elements – by the end of the year. The Steering Committee will consult widely to achieve a broad consensus in relation to the establishment of the international center.
  5. Until the structure of the international center is determined, the World Muslim League will continue to follow up and cooperate with the IPI in assisting the PWG.

I would like to thank the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his initiative and thank the representatives of the world’s religions gathered here for their participation and their continued support for the initiative. We also thank the Government of Austria for their excellent hosting of this meeting. Finally we thank His Highness Prince Mansour bin Khalid al-Saud, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Austria and the Muslim World League for their efforts to make this meeting successful.       

    

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