By February 8, 2015 Read More →

Austria Threatens to Close Saudi-Backed Interfaith Dialogue Center

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The Austrian government has threatened to close a controversial Saudi-sponsored religious dialogue center because of the latter’s failure to condemn the flogging of a Saudi human rights activist and blogger.

Austria Threatens to Close Saudi-Backed Interfaith Dialogue Center

Soeren Kern | Gatestone Institute | February 8, 2015

The Austrian government has threatened to close a controversial Saudi-sponsored religious dialogue center because of the latter’s failure to condemn the flogging of a Saudi human rights activist and blogger.

Saudi Arabia has responded to the threat by issuing a counter-threat to move the permanent headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) out of the Austrian capital of Vienna.

The dust-up began in mid-January, when Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann expressed public outrage over the refusal of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) to speak out against the flogging of Raif Badawi, a Saudi human rights activist and blogger who has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for “insulting Islam.”

That KAICIID, which is headquartered at the Palais Sturany in the heart of Vienna and has the status of an international organization, is ostensibly dedicated to “serving humanity” by “fostering dialogue” between the world’s major religions, in order to “prevent conflict.”

The KAICIID says that while it condemns all forms of violence, it has not spoken out specifically about Badawi because it does not want to get involved in the internal affairs of other countries.

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Posted in: Austria, Islam in Europe

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