Dubai: In the presence of scores of senior officials and prominent international figures from around the world, the international centre for inter-religious dialogue will be opened in Vienna next Monday.
The opening of the centre, which is called the King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, comes as a “coronation to the initiative of the Custodian of the two holy mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, and which was further advanced in following meetings held in Makkah, Madrid, New York, Geneva and Vienna,” said Faisal Bin Mumar, Secretary-General of the centre.
In a press statement, a copy of which was sent to Gulf News, Bin Mumar added among the centre’s objectives are “building bridges among the followers of different religions in a way that will unify their positions vis-a-vis the problems facing humanity including poverty, crime, terrorism, epidemics,” among other threatening issues.
The opening ceremony will be led by Austrian president Heinz Fischer and attended by the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saudi Al Faisal, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Al Azhar leader Ahmad Al Taib, along with hundreds of senior officials and figures from around the world.
In October, last year, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Spain and Austria signed an agreement for cooperation and building the interfaith centre in Vienna.
According to press reports, the centre will be composed of a governing body of 12 representatives. Among that number will be representatives from Islam (one each from Sunnis and Shiites), Christians (one each from Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox), a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Jewish representative.
There will also be a consulting body with 100 representatives from various faiths, as well as “academics and members of civil society”, some press reports said.