Vienna to hold world religious meet

World Meet of of Religious Leaders in Vienna to discuss ways to stem violence in the name of religion


The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) is organising a world meet on Nov 18 & 19  in Vienna of religious leaders and policy-makers to fuse a united front against violence in the name of religion, especially in the context of the recent crisis Iraq and Syria.

This is the first time that such a large number of high level religious leaders and policymakers meet to speak in one voice against the manipulation of religion.

The violence and crimes committed in the name of religion in Iraq and Syria call for action on an interreligious level. OnNovember 18th and 19th, the KAICIID Dialogue Centre will host the conference “United against Violence in the Name of Religion” in Vienna. This will be the largest gathering of religious leaders, among others, from the affected regions since the start of this crisis. Since June of 2014, KAICIID has been working with the United Nations, international and interreligious organizations, religious institutions and NGOs to organize this conference in order to contribute to strengthening common citizenship for all religious and ethnic groups and foster peace building in the region.

The agenda of the two-day conference is both inspirational and action oriented, focusing on the local voices from the region whose communities have been most severely affected. Both, political and religious organizations and leaders gather to speak out against violence. The general idea is to connect policy makers with highest religious leaders.

Confirmed attendees at the conference include Patriarch Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Alexandria and Jerusalem, Patriarch Ignatius Youssef Younan, of Antioch and All the East for the Syriac Catholic Church, the Grand Muftis of Egypt (Sheikh Shawki Ibrahim Alam), Jordan (Sheikh Abdul Karim Al Khasawneh) and Lebanon (Sheikh Abd Al Latif Derian), Metropolitan of Germany Isaac Barakat representing Patriarch Yohanna X (Yazigi) the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I Sako, Anba Marcos Bishop of Shobra El Khema representative of His Holiness Pope Tawadoros II, Pope of the Alexandria and Patriarch of the See Of St. Mark, Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and the Mufti of Tripoli and North Lebanon Malek Al Shaar.

EGYPT-CAIRO-RAMADAN-SUFI DANCEAlso present at the event will be high level representatives from the Iraqi Muslim Association, the Mandaean Community in Iraq, the Council of Senior Scholars from Saudi Arabia, the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Maronite Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, the Protestant Community of Egypt, the Evangelical Community of Lebanon and the Middle East Council of Churches, among many others.

Among the organisations represented at the Special Conference include: UN Genocide Prevention, UNDP Iraq, UN Department  of Political Affairs, Middle East Council of Churches, the Iraqi Interfaith Council, Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue, European Commission, Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, Adyan Foundation, The Iraqi Institute for Human Rights, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Khoei Foundation.

The gathering will witness the unified declaration by these religious leaders against violence, and their unified call to take action. Existing initiatives for social cohesion, pluralism and diversity, whether on local and national level or in the social media, will be highlighted and recommendations how to support them will be given.

The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, or KAICIID, was established as an international organization in November 2012 to facilitate dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures. KAICIID organizes training, workshops, conferences and educational programmes, and support the mediation of conflict. KAICIID carries out activities under the oversight of a multireligious Board of Directors and its Council of Parties, comprised of the governments of Austria, Saudi Arabia and Spain, as well as the Holy See, the Founding Observer.

Under the Establishment Agreement that was endorsed by KAICIID’s Member States, KAICIID’s mandate is to use dialogue to promote justice, peace and reconciliation and to counteract the abuse of religion to justify oppression, violence and conflict. The Dialogue Centre promotes peace by serving as a forum to bring together followers of different faiths and cultures, support the mediation of conflict, provide training in interreligious dialogue techniques to foster social cohesion and peaceful coexistence, convene conferences, and cooperate with organisations with similar goals.

In pursuit of these goals, the Dialogue Centre reaffirms the purposes and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To support conflict resolution, and promote mutual respect and understanding among different religious and cultural groups, the Dialogue Centre seeks to combat all forms of discrimination and of stereotyping based on religion or belief. Organized violence that targets civilians, people of faith, and places of worship, is a form of extreme discrimination on the basis of religion.