08 Jun 2018 - 19:00
Austrian government to shut seven mosques and deport 40 imams
Vienna: The right-wing Austrian government has decided to shut seven mosques and deport up to 40 imams as part of what it said was just a beginning to fight hard-line ideology and religious groups that receive external funding.
At a press conference, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said to announce his government's decisions today that an association running a mosque in Vienna would be shut down because of its illegal work, adding that a Muslim Arab association that runs at least seven mosques would also be closed.
Kurz pointed out that up to 60 imams may be deported, or may be prevented from obtaining visas on the pretext of receiving external funding, stressing that associations that represent political Islam and extremist tendencies have no place in Austria.
When he was foreign minister, Kurz oversaw the enactment of a strict Islamic law in 2015 that bans external funding for religious groups and requires Islamic associations to have a positive and fundamental outlook on his country and Austrian society.
The coalition government, made up of a coalition of conservatives and the extreme right, came to power after the immigration crisis that Europe faced four years ago after pledges to block more immigrants and reduce benefits for new immigrants and refugees.
Austria, with a population of 8.8 million, has about 600,000 Muslims, mostly of Turkish origin.