Austria to expel clerics in crackdown on political Islam

DW – June 8, 2018

Austria’s government on Friday said it would potentially expel dozens of imams and close several mosques in a move to tackle political Islam and stem the foreign financing of mosques.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the government was shutting down a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in the capital, Vienna, and dissolving a group called the Arab Religious Community, which runs an additional six mosques.

The chancellor said the initiative followed an investigation into images that emerged in April of young boys wearing Turkish uniforms marching, saluting, playing dead and waving Turkish flags. The pictures were found to have come from the Cologne-based Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organization, a branch of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).

“There is no space in our country for parallel societies, political Islam and radical tendencies,” said Kurz, whose conservative Austrian People’s Party (VPÖ) rules in coalition with the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party of Austria (ÖFP).

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