Austria will close foreign-funded mosques, expel radical imams

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 8.6.2018 19:34

On 8 June, the Austrian Government announced it will close down seven mosques and expel 40 imams for breaking a 2015 law on Islam which stipulates that Muslims in Austria have the duty to adopt “a positive fundamental view towards Austrian state and society” while banning foreign funding for religious communities.

The mosques and clerics whose activities will cease are linked to either Arab or Turkish radical religious or nationalist groups such as Austria’s Turkish Islamic Union (ATIB), „The Grey Wolves” Turkish nationalist group, and the Arab Muslim Group. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who himself oversaw the adoption of this law back in 2015 when he was the Minister of Integration, stated that the crackdown was necessary to stop the spreading of “political Islam’s parallel societies and radicalizing tendencies." The Turkish President's spokesperson has criticized the measures as "a reflection of the Islamophobic, racist and discriminatory wave in this country." However, Erdogan's own practice of inflaming nationalist and religious sentiments of Turkish communities living in the West, while playing them off against their host societies, is well-documented. On the other hand, there is some concern that the Muslim communities living in Austria could be discriminated against by the extreme-right Freedom Party of Austria, whose leader and Vice-Chancellor of Austria - Heinz-Christian Strache, stated that these measures "are just the beginning."




About author: Mihai Turcanu


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