Saudi youth delegation visits Lebanon for interfaith dialogue

The Saudi youth delegation in Lebanon.

JEDDAH — Within the Direction Knowledge and Cultural Exchange Program, a Saudi youth delegation visited Lebanon recently to participate in an interfaith dialogue in the context of coexistence and rapprochement.

Dr. Shadi Fouad Khawandanah, chairman of Direction for corporate social responsibility, said the program was of great importance to study and spread the culture of moderation and respect for others

He affirmed that Saudi Vision 2030 Saudi has set a well-established approach for dialogue and knowledge exchange.

Dr. Khawandanah said the delegation visited different religious references to discuss the eminence of religions and constructive interaction from all perspectives and religious beliefs including the spiritual and humanitarian tendencies.

The delegation met with Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan, the mufti of Lebanon, who called for preserving the Islamic unity among all sects as well as national unity between Muslims and Christians by focusing on inter-religious deportments, such as tolerance and acceptance of the other despite differences and non-interference in the affairs of the other.

The mufti thanked the Saudi government and praised Direction Knowledge and Cultural Exchange Program. He said the Islamic world needs many similar programs to strengthen the role of dialogue, moderation, understanding and respect for the other. He also praised Saudi Arabia's role in the Taif Agreement, which was the basis for ending the civil war in Lebanon and a platform for communal coexistence.

The Saudi delegation also met with Sheikh Naim Hassan, a Druze leader who explained to them the principle of co-existence in the Lebanese society among different sects.

He praised the Saudi role in supporting the principle of dialogue through King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith Dialogue in Vienna.

The delegation visited Sheikh Abdul Amir Qablan, president of the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council in Lebanon, who focused on the principle of citizenship and not using the sanctity of dialogue with the aim of changing the beliefs of the other.

He focused on supporting dialogue and rapprochement and respecting the sanctity of beliefs to preserve primarily the peace of homelands and humanity.

Qablan was impressed by the idea of the Direction Knowledge and Cultural Exchange Program and the ideas put forward by the Saudi delegation to preserve humanity as a goal of interfaith dialogue.

In conclusion, Qablan stressed that religion is an affinity, and dialogue is a right for all. He said human rights cannot be attacked in any way and that everyone must abide by the legal frameworks that guarantee their rights. He also stressed the sanctity of human life.

The Saudi delegation later met Reverent Charbel Abir, the general secretary of the Maronite Patriarch, who stated that the Lebanese constitution approved 18 religious sects that formed the diverse religious formula in Lebanon. The law ensured that there were no barriers between different sects. He spoke about the challenges facing dialogue and understanding of the other, stressing the need to strengthen the principle of understanding and citizenship and the need to work with respect and provide all what guarantees safety and security of society.

Dr. Khawandanah thanked Saudi Ambassador Waleed Bukhari for his support in coordinating the program, visits and meetings with the Lebanese leaders. — SG