The activities of the 15th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue were launched yesterday in Doha, under the topic 'Family Structure in the light of changing world: Religious perspectives, integration of families, faith, values and education'. The two-day conference is organised under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani.

In his welcome speech at the opening of the conference, Dr Ibrahim bin Saleh al-Naimi, chairman of Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue (Dicid), pointed out the 15th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue has become a global platform for discussing one of the most important issues on the international stage, which is the protection of family through highlighting the role of religions and educating young people taking into consideration the contemporary family changes.

"Our meeting is a renewal of the gathering of goodness, knowledge, and brotherhood that brought us together over fourteen previous conferences to continue the journey we have started together, bringing together a group of scholars of heavenly religions, academics, heads of dialogue centers from around the world, and in particular those interested in interfaith dialogue."

Dr al-Naimi considered it "a great opportunity for meeting, through which we can overcome discrimination among human beings and outline the path for life in its various fields on the basis of shared religious principles. I have no doubt that what our conferences have accomplished in recent years stems from a sense of responsibility and the role entrusted to all of us to serve humanity."

He further stressed that in spite of the various differences among people, all have a common consensus on the importance of enhancing family values, and the need to protect the family system against the contemporary risks and challenges involved in new media, social media and technological advancements.

The Dicid chairman noted that the conference will discuss four main topics. The first tackles the family stature in religions, notion, obligation and status. The second topic tackles family. The third topic handles current family concerns: how to support, solve and remedy. The fourth topic discusses the family as the cornerstone of raising and education.

In her address, HE Lolwah bint Rashid AlKhater, Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thanked all the participants at the conference, stressing the importance of dialogue and the exchange of ideas to open new horizons for finding ways to deal with the contemporary issues and resolve them.

She also denounced the atrocities to which the families and children at Gaza are exposed to on the hands of the occupational forces. She also pointed to the sufferings of the Sudanese people due to the current situation there. She accordingly urged the participants to do whatever they can to help such people.

The conference, which concludes today, will hold several parallel panel discussions on related topics and issues with key international figures of Muslim, Christian and Jewish scholars and clergymen, in addition to several academics, researchers and members of related international entities.