To be fair and objective I think that the activity of this committee should be placed in the historical context of the dialogue between Muslims and Catholics. This communication between both sides started in the early seventies of the last century. When the two great leaders, King Faisal Bin Abd El-Aziz Al Saud King of Saudi Arabia, and Pope Paulos VI Pope of the Vatican expressed, through their consultants, the importance of starting a dialogue between the Muslims and the Catholics. On Wednesday 7 Safar, 1392 A.H. corresponding to 22 March, 1972 A.D. the Ministry of Justice in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia organized three symposia for dialogues in Riyadh, along with a delegation of the greatest Christian jurists and thinkers in Europe, who came to the Kingdom according to arrangements made by the Saudi Embassy in Paris. During two weeks, the two sides discussed together many issues and questions that were raised by the Christian delegation in a tactful and courageous manner.  The events of those valuable symposia were registered in a documentary book entitled (Scientific Symposia).  By the end of this visit, the Saudi Minister of Justice received an invitation to visit Europe from the Head of the Catholic delegation in order to enable the followers of Islam and Christianity to be more acquainted with one another. The invitation was welcomed; reflecting the desire to maintain dialogues that will lead to more understanding and mutual acquaintance. This desire was fulfilled when a delegation from the greatest scholars and thinkers in Saudi Arabia returned the visit.

        The first meeting between the delegation and their Catholic peers in Vatican City was on 9 Shawal, 1394 A.H. corresponding to 25 October 1974 A.D. The Honorable Supreme Pontiff of the Vatican, Paulos VI welcomed the delegation and encouraged them to continue the dialogue as it is the right way to be acquainted with each other and to achieve peace among people. The dialogue was held between the Muslims and Catholics. The two sides continued their dialogues of issues that were not tackled in Riyadh due to time constraints; they also discussed the recent developments that followed.  At the end, the two sides agreed on the following meanings: (However, the aim of these Symposia is to elevate the subject matter of these Symposia in the cultural rights, to lay down all the instructions that we have and that will help in achieving this aim, to tackle the issues of dialogues impartially, bearing in mind nothing except our desired aim; that is human dignity and his pragmatic duties in respect of the instructions of our divine religion. This shall be fulfilled through the cooperation among all the humans to protect human dignity, human rights to live in peace, and their rights to be treated with justice and equity with no ethical or religious discrimination).   

        The second meeting was held in Paris on 7 Shawal, 1394 A.H. corresponding to 23 October 1974 A.D.

        The third meeting was in Geneva the International Council for Churches on 13 Shawal, 1394 A.D. corresponding to 29 October 1974 A.D. 

        The fourth meeting was also held in Paris on 17 Shawal, 1394 A.H. corresponding to 2 November 1974 A.D.

        The delegation ended their round in Strasbourg, the former capital of the European Council on 19 Shawal, 1394 A.H. corresponding to 4 November 1974 A.D.

As we have mentioned above, the events of these Symposia have been registered in a documentary book titled "Scientific Symposia" in (Vatican, Paris, Geneva and Strasbourg). A copy of this book could be obtained from the Secretariat of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue in Jeddah.

In 1992, a delegation of Muslim World League headed by its former Secretary General, H.E Dr. Abdullah Bin Omar Nasif. The delegation included H.E Dr. Mohammed Ma'rouf El-Dawaliby (may Allah bless him) President of the Muslim World Congress, His Eminence Sheikh Abduallah Bin Beh- Professor at King Abd El-Aziz University in Jeddah and His Excellency Dr. Hamid Bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie Professor at King Abd El-Aziz University in Jeddah; assistant Secretary General of the Muslim World Congress. The delegation held the Symposia in Paris, Vatican and Madrid. A meeting was held with Honorable Supreme Pontiff Johanna Paulos II, during which formal speeches were exchanged. Symposia for dialogue were held in the presence of a delegation from Saint Agido Association Rome. It consisted of (Professor Andra Ricardo, Mons. Johanna Ibrahim, Mons. Vitgenzo Baglia, Father Vittorio Janary and Dr Klaudio Peity). The delegation signed an agreement of dialogue between the two parties. A common Secretariat was formed of: 

               

           The Muslims                                                The Christians

1- Dr. Hamid Bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie                       Mons. Johanna Ibrahim
2- Mr. Abd El-Latif El-Ketany                              Father Vittorio Janary

 

The events of these Symposia are registered in a documentary report available in the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue in Jeddah.

In 1993, The World Muslim League organized a Symposium for Muslims-Christians dialogue on the occasion of opening the Islamic Cultural Center in Madrid, the Muslims who participated in the symposium were:

1.     His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Ma'rouf El-Dawaliby
2.     His Excellency Mr. Kamel El-Sherif
3.     His Eminence Sheikh Abduallah Bin Beh
4.     His Excellency Dr. Gafar Shiekh Idris.
5.     His Excellency Dr. Hamid Bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie

 

The Christians participating were:

1.      Mons. Antonio Petiero, bishop of Morocco.
2.      Mons. Ambrosio Ashbyaria, bishop of Spain.
3.      Mons. Rafael Ghonthalis Moralikho, Bishop of Hoilfa- Spain
4.      Mons. Terry Becker, Deputy Bishop in Wahran- Algeria
5.      Mons. Kholian Hernando, Secretary of relationships with the non-Catholic, Spain

 

A common statement was issued at the end of the dialogue. The two parties signed the dialogue agreement; the events of the dialogue were recorded in a documentary report available in the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue in Jeddah.

In 1995, an International Islamic delegation paid a visit to Vatican City. The delegation consisted of:

1.     Dr. Ahmad Ali, Secretary General of the Muslim World League
2.     Dr. Abdullah Nasif, Head of Muslim World Conference
3.     Mr. Kamel El-Sherif, Secretary General of the International Islamic Council for Mission and Relief.
4.     His Excellency Dr. Abd El-Aziz El-Twigry, General Manager of the Muslim Organization for Education, Science and Culture.
5.     His Excellency Dr. Hamid Bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie, Assistant Secretary General for Muslim World Conference as well as Head of Muslim Scientific Forum for Dialogue
6.     Dr. Ali Ahmad Goma'a, representative of Al-Azhar
7.     Dr. Ahmad Abou Lilah, representative of Al-Azhar
8.     His Excellency Enayat Allah, From the Muslim World League
9.     His Excellency Dr. Hassan El-Ahdal, from the Muslim World League
10.  His Excellency Dr. Abd El-Latif El-Ketany, Director of Islamic Cultural Center - Rome
11.  Mr. Mohammed Abd El-Satar, Chief Editor of Muslim World

 

The delegation was met with its peers in Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue -Vatican:

1.     Cardinal Francis Erenzy, Head of Papal Council for Dialogue of Religions.
2.     Mons. Michael Fitzgerald, Secretary of the Papal Council.
3.     Dr. Khaled Oksha, in charge of Islamic relationship Office in Papal Council.
4.     Mons. Loigy Gaty, from the Secretariat of Vatican City.
5.     Mons. Pier Giorgio Potzy, from the Secretariat of Vatican City.
6.     Father Christian Trol, preparer of the oriental studies- Rome.
7.     Dr. Vincentzo Ponomo, Latran Papal University- Rome.
8.     Father Morris Borman, Pontifical Institute for Islamic Studies Rome.
 

At the end, the dialogue and counsels between the two delegations resulted in: the conclusion of an agreement between them, the formation of a committee under the name (The Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee) and their approval upon the formation of a Secretariat that will help the Liaison Committee.

This secretariat consists of:

1.     His Excellency Dr. Hamid Bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie - Muslims side.
2.     His Beatitude Mons. Michael Fitzgerald Catholics side.

 

The articles of the agreement were as follows:

1.     The Muslim party of the committee consists of representatives of the Muslim World League, Muslim World Congress, Organization of Islamic Conference and the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief as well as Al-Azhar. While the Christian Party consists of representatives of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and other departments of the Vatican.

2.     The Committee membership will be at the level of employees (official level) taking into consideration continuation of work. It goes without saying that if an employee was unable to attend, another employee would be sent instead.

3.     A mutual secretariat for the Committee will be formed from one member from the Christian party and another from the Muslim party, the latter decided to assign Dr.Hamid Bin Ahmad El Refaie for this purpose. Father Khalid Oksha from the Christian party was the Committee Secretariat to be assigned or to assign someone on his behalf in future.

4.     The Committee meeting will be held once a year or more than once, the matter that will be decided. The Christian and Muslim parties shall hold the meetings successively.

5.     The Committee will discuss matters of great importance to both Christians and Muslims and study how religious values contribute in solving problems. The Committee may seek the assistance of experts to study such matters.

6.     Those responsible for the Committee will convene from time to time -as they may find necessary- to discuss the real Islamic- Christian relations, evaluate the Committee work and ensure that the decisions made were fully applied.   

7.     Each party will bear the travel expenses while the hosting party will bear accommodation expenses.

Dialogue Agreement Between IIFD & PCID
The First Session of Dialogue The Second Session of Dialogue The Third Session of Dialogue
  STATEMENTS  
The 7th  Session of Dialogue The 8th  Session of Dialogue The 9th  Session of Dialogue
The 10th  Session of Dialogue The 11  Session of Dialogue The 12  Session of Dialogue
The 13  Session of Dialogue The 14th Session of Dialogue