I agree with Cat who sent this in. It's hard to accept at face value.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah plans to launch an effort at dialogue between Islam, Christianity and Judaism to help end inter-religious tension, Saudi media said on Tuesday. State television showed the octogenarian king telling a forum in Riyadh that he would hold meetings with Muslims around the world to build a consensus for a new dialogue with Christians and Jews. "I want to call for conferences between the religions to protect humanity from folly," he said in a speech where he spoke positively of his meeting last year with Pope Benedict. "I wanted to visit the Vatican and I did and I thank him. He met me in a meeting I will not forget, a meeting of one human being with another. I suggested this idea," he said.In all honesty, if this is real it's a step in the right direction. I suspect however, that it is an 83-year old man, nearing the end of his life, reflecting on what a waste it has been to fight over religion.
The trouble is, Saudi Arabia uses religion not as a means to provide a sense of community to willing followers; it uses religion to control its population and enforce draconian laws. It uses religion to subjugate people.
However appealing all that may be to Pope Benedict, the House of Saud has a lot of in-house cleaning to do and a lot to answer for before the rest of the world, religious or otherwise gives them a place at the table of human do-gooders.
Abdullah has reigned over a society which embraces Wahhabism and which has persecuted the Ahmadi sect of Muslims. The Saudis can't even hold a dialogue between the Muslim denominations within its own borders.
And now Abdullah wants to wet his toes in the waters of religions which have their own internal problems?
Yeah, right. When he quits using boot polish on his beard.