Saudi-backed school in Vienna ordered shut amid anti-Semitism accusations


(JTA) — A Saudi-backed school in Vienna that allegedly used an anti-Jewish textbook was ordered to close after it refused to disclose information about its staff.

The Austrian capital’s school board announced Tuesday that it decided to shut down the Saudi School Vienna after it ignored a Dec. 1 deadline to provide the names of its teaching and administrative staff. Supplying a list of staff is a basic requirement for all private schools in Austria.

The school had earlier stirred controversy following media reports that it used an anti-Jewish book in classes. The book allegedly describes Freemasons as “a Jewish, secret, subversive organization focused on guaranteeing control of the world by Jews,” according to The Associated Press.

Vienna’s school board is investigating the allegations.

“We have also asked the school to supply us with a translation of all teaching materials,” Matias Meissner, a spokesman for the school board, told the French news agency AFP.

The Arabic-language school, which has been open for approximately a decade, has about 160 students. It has four weeks to appeal the decision before being forced to close at the end of the school year.

According to reports, the school has financial backing from Saudi Arabia. The reports, however, do not make clear the funding sources.

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