in a sharp departure from previous practice, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is planning to bring together at a conference, leaders of Christianity, Judaism and the Muslim religion according to the Saudi owned Al Sharaq al-Awsat newspaper. This, most probably, is the first time any Saudi monarch has invited Jews to participate in a conference on the soil of his nation which makes illegal the importation of non-Muslim religious objects includng Crucixes and Stars of David. The Saudi King said representtives of the three major monotheistic faiths must work together “to defend humanity” from harm. He claimed to have discussed such a gathering during his meeting with the Pope while in Rome.
The Saudi King is disturbed by what he claims is the breakdown of the family unit across the world as well as the damge to the principle of “loyalty to humanity.” The monarch informed 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.”
King Abdullah says Muslim clerics in his nation have given the green light to pursue such a venture. Perhaps, this remarkable departure from normal Saudi attitudes toward other religions reflects a growing fear even among Muslim clerics at the emergence of radical militant views within members of their faith. The King’s effort may well indicate he is worried about continuation of the Israel-Arab conflict because it might result in radicals moving from an anti-Israel agenda to one that includes getting rid of more moderate inclined Muslim leaders.