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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Saudis want 'dialogue' with Jews and Christians?

Both the JPost and Haaretz are reporting that Saudi King Abdullah has called for 'inter-faith dialogue' with Jews and Christians. This is from the JPost:
Saudi King Abdullah's desire to convene a meeting between Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious communities was reported today by the official Saudi Arabian News Agency.

"I invite representatives of all the monotheistic religions to meet with their brothers in faith," the King was quoted as saying. The theme of the expected conference was reported to be "respect among the religions."

The news agency reported that senior Muslim leaders authorized the idea and consultations will be made with Islamic religious authorities from other countries. The King went on to say that "with God's help we will meet our brethren from other religions, including those who believe in the Torah and in the Gospel, in order to find ways to defend humanity."

This, he said, comes after humanity has lost its morality, sincerity, and steadfastness. Also, the religions are confronted by challenges such as dealing with the disintegration of the family and ever-expanding Atheism.

King Abdullah revealed that he had been preparing the convention for two years and carried out dialogues with the Pope when he visited the Vatican a year ago. Abdullah has not determined a specific date for when he would like to hold the encounter.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger expressed his pleasure over the announcement. "Our hands are extended to any peace initiative and to any dialogue that will bring about an end to terrorism and violence," he said in a statement. "I have said on numerous occasions that the true path to the peace that we long for is through interfaith dialogue."
This is Haaretz's variation:
In a rare departure from government practice, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is planning to convene an interfaith conference for Muslims, Christians and Jews, according to the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.

The call for religious dialog to include Jews is the first by the monarch, whose country's laws prohibit the importation of non-Muslim religious objects including crucifixes and stars of David.

The Saudi King said representatives of the three major monotheistic faiths need to work together "to defend humanity" from harm, speaking in an address he delivered in Riyadh on Monday.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, which is published in London, quoted King Abdullah as saying he had discussed idea of a summit to promote religious dialog a number of months ago with the Pope.

"I proposed to him to address God by means of the commandments he commanded the monotheistic faiths in the bible, the New Testament, and the Koran," the king said.

The monarch said he is disturbed by the breakdown of the family unit across the world, as well as the damaged to the principle of "loyalty to humanity."

"I plan, god willing, to hold summits - not just one - so as to hear the opinion of my Muslim brothers all over the world. We will start to meet with our brothers in every faith I have mentioned - the bible and the New Testament," he said.

King Abdullah said the kingdom's top clerics had given him the green light to pursue the idea.
Is this real? Is it sincere? Let's start by looking at the account of Abdullah's words in Saudi Arabia's English-language daily.
Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal called for holding more dialogues among different religions and cultures at a time when anger continues to simmer in the Muslim world following Western attacks on Islam and its scriptures.

“Rather than retreating from the challenges, different groups should enter into honest dialogue with people who hold different beliefs,” said Prince Saud in a speech read out by Nizar Obaid Madani, minister of state for foreign affairs, at a seminar in Riyadh on Sunday night. “The collaboration among religious communities can help sustain humane relations and contribute to the eradication of racism and differences.”

The prince said: “Inter-religious dialogue offers the hope of genuine mutual enrichment that can provide us with the resources necessary to confront conflicts.”

The call was made at the inaugural session of a dialogue between “Japan and the Islamic world,” organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Oops. No Torah, no Bible, no New Testament and no Gospel. And Japan is neither Jewish nor Christian.

If Rabbi Metzger attends a conference in Saudi Arabia, will he be able to bring his Tefilin along? Would the Pope be able to bring a crucifix? Or will the meeting(s) be held outside Saudi Arabia? And what of religious freedom in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia itself? Consider this, also from today's Arab News, the Kingdom's English language daily:
A Saudi woman, who was forcibly divorced from her husband by a court in 2005 at the request of her half brothers, yesterday began the first day of a hunger strike despite officials saying that the couple would soon be reunited.

“I won’t believe it till I see it... I’ll remain stuck in this shelter like an outcaste. Everyone asks me to be patient and wait,” said the woman known as Fatima.

“Three years have passed now. I’m human at the end of the day and there is a limit to what I can put up with,” she told Arab News in a phone conversation, adding that no one understands what she was going through.
And why did Fatima's half brothers bring about her divorce?
The couple’s ordeal started when Fatima’s half-brothers asked a court to annul the marriage citing her husband’s low tribal background. The judge agreed, even though the couple had been married for over two years and had two children.
Is that how one goes about preventing the 'disintegration of the family?'

Should representatives of Judaism and Christianity be meeting with the forces of darkness in the Arabian desert while the Kingdom continues to abuse at least half of its own population? I'm not sure. But that question ought to be considered before anyone agrees to the King's proposal.


At 6:44 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:45 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

ts a joke, right? If King Abdullah wants to win respect from Jews and Christians, he needs to clean up his own house. Let's not even get into the virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Christian preaching from Muslim clerics in his own kingdom.

The sentiment about wanting a dialogue is a gesture but only a gesture and means nothing without a change in behavior. When the Saudis open up their own country to freedom of worship and conscience and begin treating women and minorities with respect, then we'll know the King's initiative is more than a slick Saudi PR maneuver.

At 6:57 PM, Blogger Aryeh said...

Great post! "Inter-faith" dialogue is a terrible oxymoron caused by post-modern jargon. It is simply not possible.


At 7:59 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

No this isn't a joke, it's been moving this way for a a couple decades now. It's called "ecumenical movement" and the more conservative Bible-believers, like myself, have been warning about the anti-Israel/anti-Jewish implications of this for decades. There have already been all sorts of documents, agreements, memoranda of understanding, responses to same and so on. If Jewish folks want to discuss with Bible-believing Christian Zionists seeking to stop this, then you are going to have to get over some of the hypersensitivity to discussing all things Christian, visiting Christian websites and so on, because fighting the ecumenical movement, which is ecumenical jihad, can only be done on theological grounds so biblical Christianity will be brought up.

For example, let's say I want to put a link on Israel Matsav to a video or even website example of a Christian leader who's arguing against the recent Common Word Between Us and You, I really can't, because in the process of presenting his arguments the pastor also presents "the gospel" (i.e., the heart of the Christian message), which Jewish folks do not want to hear. It's really an unfortunate error on the part of the Jewish community, as they have no idea of who's who in the ideological battle and even that it is going on. They also don't have any clue as to why Christian Zionists support Israel, and we can't explain it, because to do so involves sharing our understanding of the Bible, a taboo.

What I'm saying is that Jews have chosen not just to reject a Christian message that they've heard (perfectly fine and reasonable), but they've chosen to suppress that message from even getting out there--even if doing so is part of the solution to fighting Christian antisemitism and support for the ecumenical movement--by teaching from Bible and Quran the truth of the Abrahamic Covenant, for ex.

Almost every day I am reading more and more developments of the ecumenical movement, which focuses on "Christians" and Muslims, but also is including not just Jews, and not even just other deistic religions, but even now is reaching out to the "religion"/belief system of secular humanism. Today for ex, I read about Brian McLaren and some futurist conference. But, can't give you the website, there's Christian info on there.

I'd love to share a little video clip of George fake Christian Bush saying how Christians and Muslims worship the same god and can go to heave in different ways, but can't do it, the video maker put the gospel in it.

See what I'm saying? This movement is huge and you need to wake up to it. And fyi, many Christians believe scripture teach that the leader of this movement will support the coming world leader that makes a 7-year hudna with Israel--in fact, that it will be this religious leader (referred to as "the false prophet" in Revelation) and not the so-called Antichrist that will require the "666" chip/tatoo whatever it is, to buy or sell.

(btw, I am for interfaith dialogue--just based on intellectual analysis of each others' scriptures, which would end up discrediting Islam, not subjective feelings)

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Thud said...

Islam holds nothing but darkness for us all.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

For an extremely important discussion of this 2-faced proposal, I urge you to read Robert Spencer in Jihadwatch.org: Bridge for Sale: Saudi king calls for interfaith dialogue (http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/020449.php#comments).

Abdullah said: "With God's help we will meet our brethren from other religions, including those who believe in the Torah and in the Gospel, in order to find ways to defend humanity."

For lack of information, many people will look upon that statement and say, "Oh, how nice." The first question one should ask, however, is whether Abdullah is speaking of the Torah as it is understood and used by Jews today and in generations past, and of the Gospel as it is understood and used by Christians today and in generations past. Or, does he really mean the Taurat and Injil of which the Qur'an speaks -- Ur-Torah and Ur-Gospel books that preached Islamic monotheism before allegedly being corrupted by later generations?

Then, is this proposed "dialogue" to be with Judaism and Christianity as they are, or with the assumption that Jews and Christians, having corrupted their holy books, aren't even true Jews and Christians from an Islamic perspective? Moreover, what of the supersessionist attitude that Islam corrects, completes, and therefore overshadows Judaism and Christianity?

This issue -- "my" Torah or "your" Torah? "my" Gospel or "your" Gospel? -- and the resulting obfuscation and confusion partially underlies the frequent canard of "common values" on which interfaith discussions often proceed, and which Abdullah is again employing here. Yes, giving to charity is nice. Prayer is really nice, and believers tend to agree that God is great. But it's the differences that have a bearing on how a society functions, and they are the source of incompatibility between Islamic cultures and those with a Judeo-Christian basis: What is the nature of the deity? (And what does that deity have to say about any number of topics?) What is the nature of man's relationship to the deity, and to the rest of the human race? And what of the interaction of men and women? Believers and non-believers? What about revenge?

Civilized societies agree to disagree on differences of opinion that concern faith. The problem here is the imperative that Islam dominate and not be dominated, and Abdullah is indeed using the notion of "common values" to advance a very particular agenda: He calls it "respect among the religions." Once again, the uninformed reader might think that sounds wonderful. But we have already seen on many occasions that Islamic law is reciprocity-impaired when it comes to respect. It is not "respect" in the general sense; rather, Islam is to be respected, and will deal with other faiths according to what it believes is the divinely-ordained order of things (i.e., dhimmitude).

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

Sorry for the broken path to the link: http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/020449.php#comments

At 5:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Am revisiting this post, because it's starting...the Baptist side of the ecumenical movement, the moving away from the doctrinal gospel to a social gospel emphasizing "social justice" for the "oppressed." Sound like how the Palestinians (post training by the communists) have inverted history to define their battle for "self-determination"? Yep, the "justice revivals" were announced by Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a key player in Jimmy Carter's newly formed New Baptist Covenant political group disguised as a religious group. From Carter's language I'd predicted this group would turn anti-Israeli in the name of "justice," now it's starting. Next step, they'll unite with Muslims and others who reframe reality to cry "social justice." In fact, Jim Wallis has been doing this already, bigtime--here's a (don't worry, you definitely won't find the Christian gospel over there). Know your enemy Israel--the Religious Left and the ecumenical movement.


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