Austria mulls quitting Saudi-backed religious center in Vienna

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal talks to journalists upon his arrival in front of the ‘King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue’ (KAICIID) in Vienna November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

(Reuters) – Chancellor Werner Faymann has called for Austria to withdraw from a Saudi-sponsored religious dialogue center in Vienna that has become embroiled in controversy over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

He became the latest and most senior Austrian politician to suggest quitting the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), which was opened in 2012.

Riyadh paid for the baroque palace that houses the center, and is footing its budget for the first three years.

“This center does not fulfill at all the mandate of dialogue and is silent about basic issues of human rights. We will not tolerate this. It is clear to me from today’s perspective that we should get out,” Faymann told newspaper Der Standard in an interview published on Saturday.

Austria has been particularly critical in recent days over Saudi Arabia’s flogging of an atheist and civil rights blogger, sentenced to 1,000 lashes for charges including insulting Islam.

The Foreign Ministry called in the Saudi ambassador to protest, although a second round of public flogging scheduled for Friday was postponed…

  • Norman_In_New_York

    For years, the Saudis have gotten away with pretending that they are civilization’s benefactors, especially by bribing foreign politicians and strategically endowing certain institutions of higher learning. At last, Austria has called their bluff.

  • Someone has to actually think about this?

  • Martin B

    Instead of allowing this death cult outpost to be built in Vienna, the Austrians should have told the Soddys they can have all the interreligious dialogue they want when they build a church, a synagogue and a temple in Mecca.

    • winniec

      Slick disinformation by smiling savages.

      • Frau Katze


  • cmh

    Mecca should be nuked

    • winniec

      That would end Islam quickly, but it would be a crime against humanity.

    • just a thought

      The problem with that is Shia Muslims would be delighted, so it wouldn’t solve the problem…a first step, though, maybe.

  • winniec

    Human rights in Soddy Barbaria? What human rights?

  • Minicapt

    Keep the Saudi donation, but change the name to “King Jan III Sobieski International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue”; and serve memorial croissants every Sunday.