Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Saudi King Wants Religious Dialogue

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has suggested a dialogue between Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders:

"The idea is to ask representatives of all monotheistic religions to sit together with their brothers in faith and sincerity to all religions as we all believe in the same God," the king said Monday night in Riyadh at a seminar on "Culture and the Respect of Religions."

The king's call — the first of its kind by an Arab leader — was described as a "dramatic and important development" by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest branch of American Judaism.

At face value it sounds good. There could be great symbolic value in having the spiritual leaders of the Abrahamic faiths sitting and talking in the same room. But let's also remember that although the Koran calls for religious tolerance, Saudi Arabia is anything but tolerant, even of diverse interpretations of Islam let alone of other religious faiths.

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