Hindus have termed “The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue”; reportedly set to open in Vienna (Austria) on November 26, “a step in the right direction”.
Cautiously welcoming this joint effort of Saudi Arabia, Spain and Austria, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, hoped that this Centre would work for creating mutual trust among various faiths so that world could jointly concentrate on issues of human development; and would have required autonomy and independence in its functioning.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that interfaith dialogue was highly needed to arrive at a common agenda for the overall welfare of the humanity. We needed to learn to live together harmoniously despite our seriously different traditions with a broader, deeper and more inclusive understanding of religion; and we should attempt to overcome prejudices, caricatures, and stereotypes with the help of dialogue, Zed added.
Rajan Zed further hoped that this Centre would give due representation and voice to Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought.
The “Foundational Declarations of the Centre” point to the importance of interreligious and intercultural dialogue; promote mutual respect and understanding among different religious and cultural groups; etc. Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar is reportedly the Secretary-General of the Centre.