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Interreligious Dialogue is Extremely Important

16 November 2014

Pope Francis, Austrian President Heinz Fischer Discuss KAICIID Dialogue Centre. file

His Holiness Pope Francis I and Austrian President Heinz Fischer discussed KAICIID during a private audience in Rome on Thursday 13 November 2014. 
 

Speaking to the media after the meeting, President Fischer said: “Yes, there was talk of the Centre, because it has been discussed in the recent past and because the Vatican is on the Board (and) on the Council of Parties of this institution”.

“Our consensus is that a Dialogue Centre of this nature makes sense, that there is enough work for such a Centre to carry out, and that this work should be carried out, and that this work should naturally be carried out in full independence and impartiality among the various religions.”

In a different interview, President Fischer was cited as saying, "We agreed that this problem’s assessment should not be based on the current situation, but should be considered objectively and in the longer term. The Pope said that one should not make hasty decisions, and should bring the discussion back on the right track.”

The Holy See is a Founding Observer of the KAICIID Dialogue Centre, and is part of the Council of Parties of the Centre, together with Austria, Saudi Arabia and Spain. 

Reverend Father Miguel Ayuso, of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican, is a valued member of the Board of Directors of KAICIID. The KAICIID Board of Directors is made up of representatives from five major world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.

Last week, the Dialogue Centre announced that it was convening a meeting of religious leaders and policymakers to fuse a united front against violence in the name of religion, especially in the context of the recent crisis in 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.

 

ABOUT KAICIID

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.

KAICIID was established as an international organization in November 2012. Its activities are carried out 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.

KAICIID was created specifically to facilitate collaboration between governance, religion and civil society, and to mobilize and support the world’s religious leaders to act for the common good.