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Forum Intercultural Interreligious
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Geneva, 19 May 2009
His Holiness Benedict XVI
C/o Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
00120 Vatican City
We have been most impressed by Your Holiness’ visit to the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan and to
the Holy Land this month. Your presence at religious sites and your spirit of open dialogue with
spiritual and political leaders was very reassuring to all interreligious organisations, and wish to
take this opportunity to thank you for all your efforts.
Noting that your mission was in the context of a visit to shrines and holy places of the three
“abrahamic” religions, we are reminded that the Holy Father has not yet visited Ur in Iraq – a
starting place for the Abrahamic mission.
A founding member of our FICIR is the Al-Hakim Foundation of Najaf, Iraq. It was the first Iraqi non-
governmental organisation to receive consultative status with the United Nations Economic and
Social Council (2007). The Al-Hakim Foundation sincerely supports Your Holiness’ visit to Ur and
will make all efforts to ensure its success.
Our organisations constituting FICIR (Forum Intercultural Interreligious) have been working closely
with Your Holiness’ Nuncio in Geneva at the United Nations. Msgr. Tomasi participates in many
interreligious panels which FICIR has sponsored at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
These panels have always been promoted together with representatives of the OIC (Organisation
of Islamic Conference). Concerning governments’ approach to the difficult questions such as
“defamation of religion”, “political use of religion”, etc. our panels have provided a sounding-board
for both states’ and civil society positions without compromising state policy.
Please accept, once again, tokens of our sincere admiration for your recent trip to the Near East
and its positive contribution for interreligious dialogue and cooperation.
Dr. Charles Graves Dr. Abdul Amir Hashom
for Interfaith International for Al-Hakim Foundation