JEDDAH: People from countries as diverse as Brazil, Japan and the US are among those taking part in a forum promoting coexistence, peace and tolerance.
The “Saudi Salam (peace) Forum” in Riyadh is aimed at forging stronger ties between the Kingdom and the global community.
One of the participants in the two-day event is Brazilian footballer Elton Jose Xavier Gomes, who plays for Saudi club Al-Qadsiah. He has lived in the Kingdom for 10 years and set up a football academy in Brazil called “Al-Saudiya.”
He has previously posted videos of his children singing the Saudi national anthem on Instagram, as well as saying that his son and daughter sing it regularly.
The 32-year-old midfielder will be joined by others who will engage in an honest and public conversation about their time in the Kingdom and living alongside Saudi nationals.
Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaamar, secretary-general of the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), said the forum focused on the important values of coexistence, harmony, compassion and respect for the diversity of Saudi culture.
These were the basis of ties between Saudis and people from different races and religions, including those who contributed to the country’s development and progress, he added.
The forum was part of a wider effort to represent a moderate society in Saudi Arabia, he said, and there will be short films highlighting personal success stories or community-based initiatives for coexistence, as well as town hall-style meetings where nationals and foreigners can share their experiences.
Fahad Al-Sultan, the project’s executive director, was reported by the Saudi Press Agency as saying that the forum would highlight the progress, achievements and efforts the Kingdom has made for the benefit of mankind and world peace.
Saudi Arabia aims to promote the use of dialogue to prevent and resolve global conflicts to enhance understanding and cooperation.
The Kingdom seeks to foster dialogue among people of different faiths and cultures that bridges animosities, reduces fear and instills mutual respect.
Intercultural and interreligious dialogue helps build communities’ resistance against prejudice, strengthens social cohesion, supports conflict prevention and transformation and can serve to preserve peace.
The Kingdom has always supported the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The country is keen to combat all forms of discrimination based on culture, religion or belief by organizing events to overcome stereotypes in a long-term process that leads to a culture of dialogue that enables greater understanding of people of other cultures and followers of other religions.