Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vienna – A Paradise for Muslims and Islam?

See more pictures. Read in German.

The Mayor of Vienna, Dr. Michael Häupl, said during a dinner on occasion of the traditional Muslim fast-breaking “Iftar” held yearly during Ramadan at the Municipality of Vienna, that with Muslims in Vienna there has been “very good cooperation with many factual results regarding the improvement of our coexistence”. According to the Mayor, “worldwide there is no city which where the big religious communities cooperate so closely, and for this we are admired”.

He continued “Of course there are occasional conflicts, but compared to other big cities of the world there is an excellent climate of coexistence here, which can also be regarded as a sign of the good coexistence between the various ethnic groups in Vienna, what is a great success”.

Dr. Häupl asked: “What more do people of pure heart wish for than peace?” He answered: “to this end, what is important is a peaceful living together, to approach each other with confidence, to live together and not to fight with each other. I wish that we can continue our good cooperation”. (Click once on the picture to make it bigger).

Dr. Häupl thanked the guests for coming. He said: “thank you for attending in such big numbers, I know that there are other invitations like this one, but I am not jealous of this and I think that it is a very positive thing that people follow the tradition of Iftar, because when the people come together and speak, eat and drink together, then they live in peace with each other”.

See a short video excerpt from the speech of Dr. Michael Häupl below.

Rathaus Wien Iftar 2011 – Rede Bürgermeister Häupl Ausschnitte from Kawther Salam on Vimeo.

The Iftar ceremony at the Municipality of Vienna took place under the auspices of Mayor Dr. Michael Häupl and was attended by several hundred representatives of the Muslim communities in Vienna, among them the current and the former presidents of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGiÖ), Dr. Fuat Sanac and Dr. Anas Al-Shakfeh.

Before the Iftar ceremony started, guests broke their fast in the traditional way by

drinking water and eating fresh dates, and then praying – in Islam it is desirable that Muslims pray on time and without delay. After prayers, guests moved to the restaurant to have their Iftar meal. Dipl. Ing. Omar Al-Rawi, a city parliament member and Mrs. Sandra Frauenberger, the City Councillor for Integration, Women’s Issues, Consumer Protection and Personnel affairs, stood at the entrance of the restaurant to welcome the guests and to shake hands with them.

Mrs. Frauenberger and Dipl. Ing. Omar Al-Rawi welcomed everybody warmly and with

a friendly smile. Dipl. Ing. Al-Rawi, who is also charged with Integration agendas for the SPÖ, chaired the ceremonies of the Iftar. He welcomed the guests and said in his speech that Dr. Murad Wilfried Hofmann, a prominent German diplomat and author of several books on Islam had said to the Mayor Dr. Häupl during a visit to Vienna: “when the German Muslims visit Vienna, they feel that they are entering a Paradise”. Mr. Al-Rawi cited this comment to emphasize on the religious and the civil rights which Muslims enjoy in Austria.

Dr. Fuat Sanac, the new president of the Islamic Religious Community in

Austria (IGGiÖ) thanked Dr. Häupl saying: “It is not the first time that you invite us. Muslim communities have always enjoyed your hospitality. Especially regarding the Iftar meal. These “meals” have a long tradition. We are grateful to you, dear Mr. Mayor, because Vienna, the city of culture, is one of the safest, cleanest and most beautiful cities in the world“.

In Austria, Muslims are the second- largest religious minority. They enjoy full religious and civil rights. In 1878 Austria granted Muslims the status of a recognized religious community. In 1912, Austria has regulated the religious freedoms of the Muslim community with the law of recognition (“Anerkennungsgesetz”), what means: “Act of Recognition”. This recognition is the implementation of public religious freedoms in Austria.

Dr. Häupl also received a symbolic presents during the Iftar, a T-shirt from

the “Austria” football team, and another present from a nice lady. The Mayor sat at the same table next to Mrs. Sandra Frauenberger and face to face with the president of IGGiÖ Dr. Sanac and other notables from the Islamic religious community, among them the former IGGiÖ president Dr. Al-Shakfeh, Carla Amina Baghajati and two representatives of the Shia Muslim community.

The guests had a pleasant Iftar meal and discussions. After the meal, Dr. Häupl shaked hands with other guests. He was very friendly and obviously at pleasure with his guests. Everybody was rushing to have pictures taken of them together with the Councillor Mrs. Frauenberger and Dipl. Ing. Al-Rawi.

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