Interfaith Conference in New York

Receivng extensive coverage in the Arab press is the recently completed UN-sponsored Interfaith Conferece in New York.  Read about it in English here.

Two things of note:
1) The conference needs to be seen as a Saudi initiative to try and improve its image which has been damaged in recent years, especially by the news that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. 

2) Many, if not most, Arab commentators see the conference as pointless and merely political.   Egypt’s Fahmy Huwedi wrote a column expressing his displeasure at the decision of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar and the Mufti of Egypt to travel to the conference which he argues has nothing to do with religious dialogue.   Shimon Peres and Tipni Livnu were not there to represent the Jewish religion but the State of Israel, and their participation alongside Saudi Arabia was a major political coup.  In Huwedi’s view the Sheik and the Mufti should have recognized this and not attended.