The president of the Austrian Islamic Religious Community (IGGiÖ), Anas Schakfeh, has been awarded the gold medal for public service to the federal state of Vienna. Thomas Oliva, chairman of the Vienna Immigration Commission, called Schakfeh a “role model,” while Michael Häupl, mayor of Vienna, thanked him for his help in the smooth cooperation between religious communities in Vienna. Schakfeh, originally from Syria and Austrian citizen since 1980, responded that living in Vienna was a privilege for him, and he was thankful to have achieved certain goals, such as establishment of a Muslim cemetery and confessional schools.
Head of Austria’s Shi’as Islamic Center said here Wednesday Islamic Republic of Iran granted prestige and grandeur to Muslims throughout the world. Muhammad-Ali Lances who was speaking for a group of pious Iranian youth attending the religious ‘Ea’tekaf’ ritual at Martyrs Mosque of Shiraz, added, “That is why we believe you are not merely responsible for the fate of your own country, but for the fate of the youth of the entire Islamic World.” Head of Austrian Shia’s Islamic Center added, “Furthermore, the Muslim youth can by abiding by the Islamic teachings become an excellent model for the youth of the entire world nations.” Presenting an image of the social, cultural and political status quo of Europe, Lances said, “The Europeans look at Islam as a proud and prestigious faith today, while in near past if someone would convert to Islam in Europe, or any other Western country, they would have accused him of being insane.” Pointing out that the Islamic Revolution of Iran is of great significance both among the European Muslims, and among the followers of other faiths there, he said, “One of the former Austrian presidents used to say that thanks to the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the pious need not feel ashamed of being religious, and they can proudly claim their belief in God.”