7-September-2012 -- Vatican Information Service |

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Holy See to address international interfaith conference in Istanbul

Muslim and Christian perspectives on the Arab Spring and peace in the Middle East are the theme of an international interfaith conference in Istanbul, Turkey September 7-8. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will deliver the opening address of the conference, held under the auspices of the Turkish Religious Foundation Center for Islamic Studies and the Marmara University Institute for Middle Eastern Studies.

The Conference aims to "bring together eminent regional figures such as scholars, intellectuals, community and religious leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa with a view to enhancing interfaith dialogue for the preservation of peaceful co-existence among all communities from various religious, sectarian and ethnic backgrounds, against the backdrop of the recent political developments in the region." Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Professor Mahmet Gormez, President of the Directorate of Religious Affairs are also expected to attend the conference.

The new Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot will address participants as the Holy See's representative. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Fr. Ayuso said the aim of his participation was to "add the voice of the Holy See to those that support peaceful and orderly transition in the region as well as the legitimate aspirations of the people of the Middle East and in particular North Africa for freedom, dignity and democracy."

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