King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called for a dialogue among monotheistic religions Monday, marking a first for the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.
"I ask representatives of all the monotheistic religions to meet with their brothers in faith," Abdullah told delegates to a seminar on "Dialogue Among Civilizations between Japan and the Islamic World," according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“If God wills it, we will then meet with our brothers from other religions, including those of the Torah and the Gospel... to come up with ways to safeguard humanity," he added.
Abdullah said the country’s top clerics have given him approval to pursue his idea and that he plans to get the opinion of Muslim leaders from other countries.
According to SPA, the Saudi king also intends to address the United Nations on the subject.
"We have lost sincerity, morals, fidelity and attachment to our religions and to humanity," Abdullah said Monday, deploring "the disintegration of the family and the rise of atheism in the world – a frightening phenomenon that all religions must confront and vanquish."
The funny thing is, the author of the article (Eric Young) calls this a message of tolerance. To a writer for the Christian Post, maybe. And it may seem like a small step forward for Saudi Arabia. But this is neither tolerance nor progress. This is scapegoating, and as such would forever exclude and alienate the atheist community. This sort of rhetoric must be categorically rejected by those to whom King Abdullah is reaching, lest they validate his bigoted position and dirty themselves in the process.
(Hat tip NoGodBlog. Also discussed at Skepchick)