Vatican Backs Controversial Interfaith Center

The Vatican is helping promote a new Saudi-backed interfaith center in a bid to advance religious freedom around the world.

The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center opened Monday in Vienna with the foreign ministers from the facility’s founding nations — Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Austria — in attendance, along with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

“[This is] another opportunity for open dialogue on many issues, including those related to fundamental human rights, in particular religious freedom in all its aspects, for everybody, for every community, everywhere,” said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

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“The Holy See is particularly attentive to the fate of Christian communities in countries where such a freedom is not adequately guaranteed.”

The Vatican is assisting the project as a “founding observer,’’ according to the Catholic News Service, which reported the story Tuesday.

The center is highly controversial because Saudi Arabia forbids the practice of any religion except Islam.

“We are facing some criticism here, we are facing some criticism in Saudi Arabia,’’ said Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, a former Saudi education minister who is the center’s secretary general. “But dialogue is the answer for this.’’

According to the New York-based Gatestone Institute, a non-profit international policy council, the center’s primary focus enter will be “to promote a work program called “The Image of the Other,” which will examine stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam in education, the media and the Internet.’’

via Vatican Backs Controversial Interfaith Center.


One Response to Vatican Backs Controversial Interfaith Center

  1. Joy Thompson says:

    It will be interesting to see what they say is the “truth” regarding Islam. Islamic law says it is permissible to lie in certain circumstances: “I did not hear him permit untruth in anything people say, except for three things; war, settling disagreements, and a man talking with his wife or she with him (smoothing over differences)”…from Reliance of the Traveller, A Classical Manual of Islamic Sacred Law. Will the “dialogue” at the Center qualify as “settling disagreements”? They are going to focus on examining “stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam in education, the media and the Internet.” I’m not sure what we are misunderstanding. Sura 6:152 says that it is okay for a Muslim to kill any person he wishes if it be a “just cause”. Maybe they’ll let us know what constitutes a “just cause”. Or why it is OK to beat your wife or why a woman is worth half of what a man is worth. Or maybe they’ll help us understand why anyone who fights against Allah or renounces Islam in favor of another religion shall be “put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off alternative sides.” Sura 5:34. Maybe we will finally understand why followers of Islam are taught that Allah will “instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers”, and why they are taught to “smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them”. Koran 8:12. I don’t think we have to wait for “a work program called ‘The Image of the Other,'” to know what is “truth”. Jesus said “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32.

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