The Central European country closes seven mosques and expels 60 radical imams
The Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, was the one who announced these measures in a surprise press conference on June 8. The president took this decision to "prevent extremist ideas are disseminated and indoctrinate minors in values contrary to our country."
The closed mosques are Muslim associations that receive funding from abroad - everything points that it is from Turkey - and that are closed in order to end "parallel societies that promote a political Islam and extremism that have no place in Austria," said the Chancellor.
"It is not a religious issue, we must be alert against the politicization of a creed that does not reflect or defend the interests of a society like ours," said Kurz, who in his appearance before the media was accompanied by the Minister of Culture, Gernot Blümel; Vice Chancellor Christian Strache and Interior Minister Herbert Kickl; the last two belong to the anti-European and anti-immigration FPÖ party.
Of the seven closed mosques, four are in Vienna, two in the Upper Austria region, and one in Carinthia. All of them are accused of spreading Turkish ultra-nationalist ideas and promoting a very conservative version of the Islamic precepts.
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The majority Islamic association in the country, the Muslim Worship Community (IGGiÖ), collaborated very actively in the investigations carried out by the security forces, and ensured that the closed mosques lacked the necessary permits to operate. Therefore, they have supported the Government's decision, considering that it is not an attack on their religion, but a question of security that benefits all the inhabitants of Austria. Half a million Muslims live in the Central European nation, representing 6% of the total population of this Catholic country.
The Social Democratic opposition (SPÖ) has not shown any objection to this measure, since it was during the previous legislature - with the Social Democrats in power - when investigations began at the hands of the then Secretary of State, Munar Duzdar, and they discovered the first tests of radicalism of the imams that operated in the closed mosques.
As expected, many critics of this decision have emerged from Turkey. The government spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, expressed his displeasure on social networks claiming that "Austria is cutting off Muslim places of worship to get political revenue." He also accused the Central European country of promoting a "populist racist wave against Islam."
Austria has taken several measures since the new right-wing government took power, including the payment of a fee of up to 840 euros for those foreign refugees who want to apply for asylum in the country, making it very clear that they want to exercise greater control over immigration.
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Translated from “Austria contra el extremismo: “No es una cuestión religiosa”, según el canciller Sebastian Kurz”