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European Journal

Austria: Controversial Culture

A new culture center in Austria is proving controversial. Its purpose is to promote inter-faith dialogue - but critics are outraged that its funding comes from Saudi Arabia, a country not known for its religious tolerance.

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Saudi Arabia bought the neo-Baroque building in Vienna for 14 million euros and named the new center for worldwide interfaith dialogue after King Abdullah. But critics include a number of Austrian politicians as well as liberal Muslims, who accuse the center's organizers of plotting to spread radical Islam. Saudi Arabia has already invested millions in building mosques in south-eastern Europe.