A Saudi-backed center to promote interfaith dialogue worldwide began work in Vienna on Monday by bringing hundreds of religious activists together to discuss how to promote understanding among different beliefs.
Named after Saudi King Abdullah, the center is a welcome boost for bridge-building between faiths in an era of financial austerity but has drawn criticism because Saudi Arabia enforces a strict Islam and bans non-Muslim religious practice.
The center was inaugurated in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and representatives of different countries – some hostile to Israel.
The surprise of the evening was unquestionably the appointment of Rabbi David Rosen from Israel as a member of the center’s board of directors.
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