The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Cultural Dialogue has opened in Vienna, Austria to much fanfare. And a bit of criticism.

The choosing of Vienna as its headquarters makes a certain amount of sense. Site of the 1683 Battle of Vienna, that put an end to the Muslim expansion in eastern Europe by the Ottoman Empire, the battle also saw tensions between Catholic and Protestant leaders. But how much more effective — and what a great symbol of seriousness of purpose — this center would be were it headquartered in Riyadh!

Saudi-backed interfaith center in Vienna attracts mixed reaction

Dialogue between religions is as necessary as ever in light of recent conflicts, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said Monday to mark the opening in Vienna of a controversial new center aimed at promoting such dialogue.

Backed by Saudi Arabia, the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), has been the subject of criticism ever since its formal creation last year.

But supporters were keen to highlight its relevance at a glitzy event at Vienna’s Hofburg palace.

“We need look no further than today’s headlines to understand why this mission is so vital,” Ban told the gathering, citing the recent conflicts and religious divisions in Syria, Israel and Mali.

“Too many religious leaders have stoked intolerance, supported extremism and propagated hate… Yet we know that blaming ‘the other’ is not a political strategy for a healthy country, continent or world.”

… But critics have questioned the center’s ability to promote interreligious dialogue, since it was an initiative of the Saudi king and will be entirely funded by Saudi Arabia for the first three years.

They argue that Riyadh will use the center to divert attention from human rights violations and the lack of religious freedom at home.

A small group of protesters had gathered outside the Hofburg palace ahead of the inauguration, backed by the Liberal Muslims Initiative of Austria and the opposition Green party, which has rejected the creation of the KAICIID since the beginning.

November:27:2012 - 07:47 | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink
4 Responses to “Interfaith Dialogue Center Opens in Vienna”
  1. 1
    Solomon2 Said:
    November:27:2012 - 13:16 

    “how much more effective — and what a great symbol of seriousness of purpose — this center would be were it headquartered in Riyadh!”

    John, you forget the guidelines developed in 2008 for this initiative. Dialogue was redefined to exclude opposing voices of the people addressed by Muslims; essentially, the Center is supposed to proselytize Islam and suppress Western civil rights and values by emphasizing that failing to yield to Muslim “sensitivities” will lead to Muslims committing violence upon non-Muslims who must bear the responsibility for their fate: link

  2. 2
    Susanne Said:
    November:28:2012 - 08:10 

    I was in Vienna in late August and there were a lot of Saudis and/or Gulf Arabs there. I guess that’s one of their playgrounds.

  3. 3
    Kaffir Said:
    November:30:2012 - 23:47 

    Clearly this is another strategy to spread muslim propaganda subversively and by choosing Vienna they are making a “statement” – similar to the proposal to build the “mega moskk” at Ground Zero

  4. 4
    Bigstick1 Said:
    December:01:2012 - 21:21 

    Interfaith is a joke. First religion is a fairytale and next the interfaith is a political strategy where the winner intends to violate human rights according to their particular hate doctrine as almost all religious fairy tale dogmas violate human rights in numerous ways depending on tribe, ethnicity, gender or orientation.

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