Saudi king opens religious conference in Madrid

King Abdullah called on followers of the world’s prominent religions to turn away from extremism, and embrace reconciliation, at an inter-faith conference in Madrid this week. He said that conflicts of history were not caused by religion, but by the misinterpretation of religion. Conference co-host King Juan Carlos of Spain said that the country has always sought international and inter-faith dialogue. Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist theologians at the conference stressed a call for gender equality, citing a history of marginalization of women in religion. Critics of the conference, however, have dismissed the gathering citing it as a propaganda gimmick by the Saudis.