Saudi king opens Spain interfaith conference with call for unity

July 16, 2008 16:40

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia exhorted followers of the world's leading faiths to turn away from extremism and embrace a spirit of reconciliation, saying at the start of an interfaith conference Wednesday that history's great conflicts were not caused by religion itself but by its misinterpretation. "My brothers, we must tell the world that differences don't need to lead to disputes," Abdullah said, speaking through a Spanish interpreter. "The tragedies we have experienced throughout history were not the fault of religion but because of the extremism that has been adopted by some followers of all the religions, and of all political systems." Abdullah's comments came at the start of a Saudi-sponsored gathering that aims to bring Muslims, Christians and Jews closer together at a time when the world often puts the three faiths at odds. Spanish King Juan Carlos also addressed the gathering at a ceremonial palace on the outskirts of Madrid, saying he hoped the conference would be successful.

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