VIENNA – Austria's chancellor says the government will decide next year whether to renew the contract of a Saudi-funded religious center in Vienna after ruling on whether it is truly supporting interfaith dialogue.
Chancellor Werner Faymann's announcement Tuesday follows criticism of comments by Claudia Bandion-Ortner, deputy head of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.
While saying she opposed Saudi executions, she told a magazine that reports people sentenced to death were executed every Friday in Saudi Arabia were "nonsense." The former Austrian justice minister also compared wearing an abaya — the mandatory, all-covering garment for Saudi women — to donning a judge's robe.
Critics say Saudi Arabia's poor human rights record and lack of religious tolerance should disqualify it from running such an institution.