The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will open the second 'Building Bridges' seminar today in Doha, Qatar. The two-day conference is being hosted by the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and follows on from a similar gathering last year at Lambeth Palace. Around thirty Christian and Muslim scholars from across the world will hold detailed discussions over three days. This year the gathering will focus on the place of scripture in the two faith communities; speakers will address issues such as the contemporary interpretation of scripture and scriptural perspectives on those from other faith traditions. The format of this year's conference includes both open lectures and private sessions. As with the first conference last year, it is hoped that an account of the deliberations will be published in book form. The conference was planned well in advance of the military conflict in Iraq and is part of a continuing process of engagement between Christian and Muslim scholars. Dr Williams underlined the importance of dialogue: The Archbishop said: "Christians and Muslims have much to learn from each other, and much to share, despite all the differences we acknowledge. A meeting such as this is a clear demonstration that we do not have to be imprisoned in mutual hostility and misunderstanding when our encounters are shaped by the scholarship and experience of people such as those who will be contributing to this meeting."
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