Top Saudi leaders joined representatives of other faiths in condemning violence by the so-called Islamic State (IS) at a conference organized in the Austrian capital by the King Abdullah International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) on Wednesday.
The KAICIID was founded in October 2011 by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to promote interfaith harmony.
“Some organizations that are affiliated with Islam are perpetrating some actions in the name of jihad. This is not Islam at all,” Secretary-General of the Muslim World League Abdullah Al-Turki was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying. “This is why we wish to deplore and strongly condemn this behavior, which we see as against Islam,” he told an audience including the grand muftis of Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan; top representatives of several churches, Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee, and diplomats.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nizar Madani decried the emergence of factions “that use terrorism and violence in the name of religion. They are wreaking havoc. They are killing and destroying everything."
“Those who have embraced terrorism unfortunately attribute everything they do, every oppression they practice, to Islam. Islam has nothing to do with them,” he said.
The conference, titled "United Against Violence in the Name of Religion," called for countering the messages of militants on social media used to lure recruits, and for leadership courses in schools and the broader community to spread the principles of diversity and tolerance.
Faisal bin Muammar, secretary-general of the KAICIID, emphasized the need to confront violence being committed in the name of religion. He said the crimes committed by IS militants in Iraq and Syria had nothing to do with any religion. He stressed that religious communities around the world must coexist peacefully, respecting one another.