Saudi media has reported that according to the Austrian Ambassador, Vienna will host the first Arab-European Young Leaders forum in November. According to the report:
RIYADH – Vienna will host the first Arab-European Young Leaders Forum in November this year, said Dr. Johannes Wimmer, Ambassador of Austria, while addressing as a guest speaker at World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) 8th annual party in Riyadh, Sunday. About 50 ambassadors, 120 diplomats representing various international embassies based in Riyadh and more than 100 philanthropists and WAMY’s donors attended the Iftar party.
Malaysian Ambassador Prof. Syed Omar Al-Saggaf and Yusuf Bin Mustafa Al-Yusuf, a Saudi businessman were other guest speakers on the occasion. Dr. Salah Bin Suliman Al-Wohibi, WAMY Secretary General was the keynote speaker. Dr. Wimmer said King Abdullah honored Austria by deciding to choose Vienna as future headquarters for the Center for Inter-Religious Dialogue. The First Conference on Interfaith Dialogue was in Madrid in 2008, he said.
“Austria warmly welcomed King Abdullah’s Initiative for interfaith dialogue made in 2008. We will continue to facilitate and support efforts made in this direction,” the envoy said. He said invitations have been extended to a number of Arab countries including Saudi Arabia to attend the forthcoming First Arab-European Youth Leaders Forum. “The basic aim of the forum is to develop modalities for cultural dialogue and promote broader understanding among young leaders in the Arab and European countries,” he said. He described WAMY’s annual Iftar party as an event that gathers members of the international community under one roof with the aim to promote interfaith harmony. “I am very grateful to our host (WAMY) that it has created this kind of space for us here tonight,” he said. “Islam is one of the main religions in Austria with a considerable number of Muslims, mostly migrants living in the country,” he added.
The report also quoted the WAMY Secretary-General who said that he didn’t know why the US Ambassador had stopped attending the iftar party and revealed that his sons have US passports:
Dr. Wohibi said the WAMY’s annual Iftar party has become highly successful event with a huge gathering of ambassadors, diplomats and philanthropists turning up every year. “It is the most successful event with more than half the ambassadors attending the function,” he said. He said he does not know the reason as to why the US ambassador has stopped attending the Iftar party. “I will visit the US Embassy after Eid Al-Fitr and try to resolve the issue, if any, the American Embassy in Riyadh might have,” he said. WAMY has already cut down on its staff in its Washington office right after 9/11 events. “I haven’t been to the US since 9/11 although two of my sons hold American passports,” Dr. Wohibi said. He said he did not trust the US airport officials, who are said to have harassed people going to American cities from Saudi Arabia “and I do not want to be harassed at American airport,” he said.
Muslim Brothers were instrumental in the founding of WAMY and the organization continues to enjoy close relations with the global Muslim Brotherhood. U.S. government agencies and officials have argued that WAMY has helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India. NPrevious posts have discussed the organizations’s recent financial difficulties.