Interreligious Dialogue in the Squeeze between Diplomacy and Contextual Practices, by Anne Hege Grung

Can interreligious dialogue evaluated as significant and successful at one level provide obstacles for interreligious dialogues at other levels? The Saudi initiated KAICIID center in Vienna, Austria is successful in gathering high-profile religious leaders from around the globe, including the Middle East, in order to establish regional platforms of dialogue. There are signs, however, that the Saudi representation of KAICIID in Austria creates challenges in the local context, particularly for Austrian Muslims who want to represent themselves without being affiliated with Saudi politics. Interreligious dialogues between religious leaders are also reproducing male ownership of the dialogues and patriarchal structures of religion because men are the overwhelming majority among them. Is there a need to develop a language for different kinds of interreligious dialogue beyond what is present in the discourse in the field? Can we talk about shared markers for all interreligious dialogues, or do we need to distinguish further between dialogue as a political and diplomatic tool and dialogue as community-building and emancipatory processes?

keywords: interreligious dialogue, KAICIID, diplomacy, Austria, Saudi-Arabia, institutionalizing dialogue

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