Manama: The role of the Internet and social communication media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in promoting dialogue among religions, will be the theme of the Doha Interfaith conference, organizers said.

"This year's conference will revolve around issues like interfaith dialogue, civilisations and cultures with a focus on the role of social communication media in influencing people's opinion," Ebrahim Saleh Al Nuaimi, the director of the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID), said.

Over 170 participants from the Middle East, Europe and the US will take part in the ninth edition of the conference to be held on October 24-26 under the theme ‘Means of Social Communication and the Interfaith Dialogue: A Futuristic Outlook'.

"Religious scholars and experts will discuss the impacts of social communication channels in the Arab world," Al Nuaimi said. "The conference will provide answers to some questions related to communications revolution such as: Is an open channel of communication between two parties enough to establish a constructive dialogue and resolve disputes? Why should there be civil wars and killing of neighbours if there are effective and informed channel of communication, that is face-to-face communication?"

According to the official, the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue is keen on promoting the philosophy of accepting one another and engaging in dialogue, as well as promoting freedom, justice and equality, Qatar Tribune daily reported.

"We believe dialogue should be a priority in dealing with conflicts of civilisations, cultures and peoples. The current globalisation approaches should nurture interaction among people and free flow of information and inter-relationship among cultures."

The DICID will work with the Islamic World Academy of Science, set to hold its 18th conference in Doha on October 22 to mark its 25th anniversary. The academy, an institution for Muslim scholars from around the world, specialises in supporting activities and research and scientific projects, he said.

The DICID and the academy will hold a joint meeting on October 24. The meeting will be held under the theme ‘Science and religion'.

However, Al Noaimi said that while the ninth conference of interfaith dialogue would involve representatives of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, the conference of the Academy would be attended by representatives only of Islam and Christianity.

The DICID was established upon a recommendation of the fifth Doha Interfaith Conference in May 2007 in Doha. The centre was officially opened in May 2008.