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Published on 13 November, 2008

Religious tolerance forum hosted by — Saudi Arabia?

USA (MNN) — "Saudi Arabia calling on international religious tolerance is a little bit like the wolf calling for a sheep convention." That's the president of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller's response to Saudi Arabia's hosting a forum to promote interfaith dialogue.

Called 'Culture of Peace Summit,' it is part of a personal initiative by Saudi King Abdullah to promote tolerance among the world's major religions. The Saudi leader agreed for the first time to dine in the same room with the Israeli president at a private, pre-conference banquet Tuesday.

Moeller says it's almost unbelievable that the Saudi king is hosting this event. "They are without question one of the worst examples of religious intolerance around the world, the way they treat other faiths within their country."

He says it's fundamentally dangerous because you have Muslims, Jews, Christian and other faiths, "all coming together to talk about one world religious toleration. This is very difficult to understand, especially from a Christian perspective, because Christian faith [can't be compromised]."

"The whole focus of this meeting is to endorse a U.N. endorsement of an anti-blasphemy law against Islam around the world. It's basically an endorsement of Sharia law when it comes to Islam," says Moeller.

He's talking about U.N. resolution 62145, which is a non-binding resolution. The resolution recognizes that there have been issues of intolerance around the world, "and they are particularly concerned about the treatment of Muslims. We find this to be quite ironic because the worst perpetrators of religious intolerance around the world are Muslim societies where Christians are marginalized at best and actively persecuted in most cases."

While it is a non-binding resolution, two areas of the world will use it to their advantage. "In Muslim countries around the world [and] also India, with its Hindu nationalists, there will be a chilling effect on Christian evangelism because these governments will feel the freedom to use this U.N. resolution to bolster their own repression of their Christian minorities. We find it will be just an accelerant on the fire of persecution around the world."

Moeller says we need to pray that the resolution doesn't pass and that the conference is exposed for what it is — a sham. He's also asking you to do something. "We can take action by alerting our U.N. delegation through the State Department that we find this to be a dangerous path, that the Christian community would be negatively impacted by this U.N. resolution."

The Culture of Peace forum ends today at the U.N. in New York.

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