Fox Guarding the Henhouse Alert: Saudi Arabia has absolutely nothing to say about tolerance until churches and synagogues flourish there. From Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Ministry of Islamic Affairs and the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue will organize short courses for imams throughout Saudi Arabia in order to spread a culture of dialogue and forgiveness, sources told Asharq al Awsat.
The courses will include lectures by senior ulema in Saudi Arabia, including the Saudi mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al Sheikh and members of the Senior Ulema Commission, aimed at advising imams to spread a culture of dialogue and accept divergent opinions, while shunning extremism.
This breakthrough step will involve a large numbers of imams and khateebs (those who lead the prayers at mosques) in different regions of the Kingdom.
These sessions are part of a wider campaign by King Abdulaziz Center to spread a culture of dialogue, building on the recommendations of the first national dialogue in 2003, which stressed that Islam is a moderate religion that does not accept extremism and distinguishes between extremist attitudes and religious piousness, in addition to understanding that difference and intellectual diversity and sectarian pluralism are a fact of life and natural occurrences that ought to be exploited/ used to construct a strategy to deal with others using dialogue and advice.