Austria: The Vatican sides with Saudi Arabia in favor of interreligious dialogue

Source: FSSPX News

The “King Abdallah Ben Abdelaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue” (KAICIID) officially opened its doors on November 26, 2012, in the presence of the Secretary General of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, and representatives of the major religions.  Created at the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia (see DICI no. 244)—a nation which was joined by Austria and Spain as founding States—this center is also supported by the Holy See in its capacity as an “observer-founder”.  Speaking through the director of the Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Holy See asserted on November 23 that the purpose of this new institution is “to promote dialogue among religions and cultures, a fundamental requirement for today’s humanity”, while stressing that the center is “an independent international Organization recognized by the United Nations, founded by Arabia and by two countries with an ancient Christian tradition, Austria and Spain”.  The Church will be represented in it by Father Miguel Ayuso Guixot, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

A small group of demonstrators gathered shortly before the event, responding to appeals by the Austrian Green Party and a Muslim association.  These opponents of the Center fear that it may be utilized by Ryad to promote Wahhabism, a radical branch of Islam that strictly applies the Sharia (Islamic law) that is in force in Saudi Arabia. – A fear that the Vatican authorities, paradoxically, do not share!  (Sources:  apic/Vatican Radio/Libération – DICI no. 266 dated December 7, 2012)