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Saudi King Salman meets senior Vatican official

GDN Online Desk
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Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received the chairman of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and his accompanying delegation.

They stressed the important role of followers of religions and cultures in renouncing violence, extremism, terrorism and achieving worldwide security and stability, Arab News reported.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran arrived on Friday on a historic visit to Saudi Arabia.

He was hosted on Tuesday by Riyadh-based Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, or Etidal, which showcased its work in combating extremist ideology.

Etidal, Arabic for “moderation”, is an effort by the international community to expose, combat and refute extremist ideology, said Etidal secretary-ceneral Nasir Al Biqami told the delegation.

The centre was established in 2017 in Riyadh, the co-operative effort of more than 55 countries.

Cardinal Tauran said that “Etidal has a mission and a vision. The centre is very wise to analyse the causes of extremism. Most of the time, extremism is provoked by injustice.”

“I think we have two enemies: extremism and ignorance. I don’t believe in the clash of civilisation but rather in the clash of ignorance. Most of the time people react because they don’t know who you are or who they are,” said Tauran, who is seen as an energetic promoter of dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and Islam.

Saudi leaders have met with a many representatives of various Christian traditions in recent months.

In November, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite church, Beshara Rai, met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a historic visit to Riyadh.

The prince also met a group of Jewish and Catholic leaders in a recent visit to New York, which highlighted a show of interfaith dialogue.

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