The square in front of the gate to the headquarters of the United Nations in Vienna is named after a Muslim: “I am proud of the fact that a Viennese street sign recalls (the prophet) Muhammad,” said Omar Al-Rawi, SP-councillor and in charge of questions of integration of the Austrian Islamic faith community.
The designation of the previously nameless place as “Muhammad Asad-square” goes back on his initiative, told Al-Rawi. The city of Vienna honored this by contributing to the EU’s intercultural dialogue. I wonder when Buddha and the Japanese emperor will be honored in Vienna.
“By naming this square Muhammad Asad-square Vienna is honoring a man who spent an important part of his life in this city, ” said Al-Rawi. Leopold Weiss was born a Jew in 1900 in the city of Lviv in Galicia, and moved to Vienna, where he went to school and studied philosophy.
Weiss later moved to the British Mandate of Palestine, staying in Jerusalem at the house of an uncle, the psychoanalyst Dorian Weiss. He picked up work as a stringer for the Frankfurter Zeitung, selling articles on a freelance basis. His pieces were noteworthy for their understanding of Arab fears and grievances against the Zionist project. Eventually contracted as a full-time foreign correspondent for the paper, his assignments led him to an ever deepening engagement with Islam, which after much thought led to his religious conversion in 1926. He spoke of Islam thus:
Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other; nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking; and the result is a structure of absolute balance and solid composure.”
He traveled through Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran and ended up in India where he met and worked alongside Muhammad Iqbal, the poet-philosopher, who had proposed the idea of an independent Muslim state in India, which later became Pakistan. His parents were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.
The name of Magdi Christiano Allam would have been the right choice for the square, being both from the Middle East and a Catholic, the Austrians could have had the best of both worlds. But in the age of appeasing Islam, the Austrians choose a Muslim convert instead.
Wunderschön. *L* KGS
UPDATE: When it comes to understanding the “Zionist Project“, nobody can best explain its real history, while debunking those that seek to turn it on its ear, than Professor Efraim Karsh. He is the man.
UPDATE: Daniel Pipes had already noted an additional perspective of Herzl Square.
“May 4, 2004 update: The Associated Press reports that plans by the Vienna municipality to name a square after Theodor Herzl, the man generally credited with founding the Zionist movement, drew a protest from the Arab League. The league sent a letter dated April 29 to the mayor expressing its “regret” at the decision to honor a man whose name “represents a sad memory for Arabs and Muslims,” then urged city officials to reconsider this move for the sake of continued “good relations” with the Arab-Islamic world.
The letter even suggested that the name change, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Herzl’s death on July 3, could lead to terrorism. (Carna Amina Baghajati, spokeswoman for Vienna’s Islamic community, suggested that a square be named instead for Mohammad Asad, the Islamic name of an Austrian-born Jew born Leopold Weiss.) If it were needed, here is more proof of the intent to delegitimize the very existence of Israel. (The square was in fact named after Herzl on July 2, 2004, one day ahead of the exact centenary of his death.)”
So it appears that the Vienna Islamic community got its way after all. I wonder if naming the square after a Jewish apostate will lead to terrorism as well, or does Austria’s genuflection towards Islam forestall it? *L* KGS