May 2008 Church & State | AU Bulletin

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has called on representatives of the world’s monotheistic religions to meet to discuss ways to shore up faith in the face of what he says is declining family values and rising non-belief.

The king, whose country is a strict Islamic theocracy, said in a speech in late March that he had consulted with clerics in his country, and they liked the idea. The meeting, Abdullah said, would include Muslims, Christians and Jews and would take place in Saudi Arabia. He said Pope Benedict XVI, was receptive to the concept.

“The idea is to ask representatives of all monotheistic religions to sit together with their brothers in faith and sincerity to all religions, as we all believe in the same God,” he said.

The king added, “I have noticed that the family system has weakened and that atheism has increased. That is an unacceptable behavior to all religions, to the Koran, the Torah and the Bible. We ask God to save humanity. There is a lack of ethics, loyalty and sincerity for our religions and humanity.”

Ironically, the same day Abdullah gave the speech, Saudi officials denied a request by the Vatican to build the country’s first Christian church.