Metropolitan Emmanuel in Casablanca

CASABLANCA, Morocco – Metropolitan Emmanuel, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in France, represented Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during a meeting with Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia at the latter’s residence in Casablanca.
The occasion for the visit was the 4th annual conference of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.
According to its website, the center was established by Morocco’s King Abdullah and “is a new international organization being established in Vienna to promote dialogue between religions and cultures, thus fostering understanding and cooperation, promoting justice, peace and reconciliation, and counteracting the abuse of religion as a means to justify oppression, violence and conflict.”
The meeting with the Saudi king was also attended by Morocco’s monarch and by David Rosen, the International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee.
The participants expressed their gratitude for the prominent building in Vienna that the Saudi donated to house the Center. A Saudi press release also noted the Center is funded by Saudi Arabia, whose Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal opened the complex last October.
The prince said it would “promote tolerance among the followers of religious faiths and contribute to world peace and stability…Saudi Arabia is willing to financially participate in this project, and to place all its moral and political resources behind the center, without infringing … on its autonomy or independence from any political interference.”
During the Casablanca meeting Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muammar, adviser to the Moroccan king and Secretary General of the Center, reported that during the conference the members of the Board of Directors of the Center made numerous references to the opening of the Centre.” He added that “the conference participants performed there in a thoughtful and cooperative [manner]. Cooperation was evident among the representatives of all the religions and cultures that were represented, including discussion about the new Center.”
{52189}He concluded that the members of the Board will spare no effort in the pursuit of the aims of the Center, which include the promotion of cultural dialogue and solving problems with wisdom and humanitarianism.”
The King of Saudi Arabia expressed his thanks and appreciation for the efforts of the participants and wished them every success and the achievement of all their goals.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry’s press release said “the idea of the dialogue center was first mooted back in 2005 following an extraordinary Islamic summit in Makkah. The initiative received further encouragement following a meeting between King Abdullah and Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 and after an interfaith global meeting that took place in Madrid on July 16, 2008.”
In 2011 The Christian Science Monitor reported that “King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has been planning for years to find a way to unite the worlds major religions in an effort to help foster peace, and believes a new international organization to be housed in Vienna, Austria will help make that dream a reality.” {52188}
A TNH search of international news sources could not locate a statement by the Center regarding the recent murder of four American diplomats in Libya.