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Austria Threatens to Close Saudi-Backed Interfaith Dialogue Center
by Soeren Kern
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."
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