Austria to expel up to 60 imams, shuts 7 mosques in crackdown on ‘political Islam’

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the ruling centre-right People’s Party said parallel societies, political Islam and radicalisation have no place in Austria.
Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl attends a news conference in Vienna, Austria on June 8.(REUTERS)
Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl attends a news conference in Vienna, Austria on June 8.(REUTERS)
Updated on Jun 08, 2018 03:26 PM IST
Copy Link
AFP, Vienna | By

Austria could expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families as part of a crackdown on “political Islam”, Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said on Friday.

“The circle of people possibly affected by these measures - the pool that we’re talking about - comprises around 60 imams,” said Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), the junior partner in Austria’s coalition government. In total 150 people risked losing their right to residence, he said at a press conference in Vienna.

Seven mosques will also be shut after an investigation by the religious affairs authority into images which emerged in April of children in a Turkish-backed mosque playing dead and reenacting the World War I battle of Gallipoli.

“Parallel societies, political Islam and radicalisation have no place in our country,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the ruling centre-right People’s Party said. In several cases the process of expelling imams connected to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organisation was underway, Kickl said.

The interior minister added that the government suspects them of contravening a ban on foreign funding of religious office holders. ATIB is a branch of Turkey’s religious affairs agency Diyanet.

The photos of children, published by the Falter weekly, showed the young boys in camouflage uniforms marching, saluting, waving Turkish flags and then playing dead.

Their “corpses” were then lined up and draped in the flags.

The mosque in question was run by ATIB and is one of those that will be closed.

ATIB itself condemned the photos at the time, calling the “highly regrettable” event and said that “called off before it had even ended”.

Turkey’s relations with Austria have long been strained, with Kurz calling on the European Union to break off negotiations on Ankara joining the bloc.

Last week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked Kurz, saying: “This immoral chancellor has a problem with us”.

“He’s throwing his weight around and making a scene,” Erdogan went on.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • US President Joe Biden.

    Joe Biden to host leaders of Sweden, Finland amid NATO bids

    President Joe Biden will host Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinisto of Finland at the White House for a meeting Thursday amid their push to join NATO in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The White House said they would discuss the two countries' applications to join the mutual defense alliance, as well as European security broadly.

  • Britain's flag.

    One in four Britons skips meals, finds report. Here's why

    The cost-of-living squeeze in Britain has led to two in three people in the country turning off their heating, almost half are driving less or changing supermarkets and just over a quarter say they have skipped meals, a survey showed. Among people on lower incomes, one in three people say they have missed meals recently because of the surge in inflation, polling firm Ipsos said on Tuesday.

  • An Air Canada plane is seen in the air after departing from Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday. (REUTERS)

    India’s missions in Canada reach out to students after spate of incidents

    India's missions in Canada are enhancing their outreach to students from India as their numbers balloon along with a spate of incidents, including accidents, suicides, even murders. The latest such tragedy was reported on Sunday, when Peel Regional Police found the body of 20-year-old Navkiran Singh from Moga district in Punjab drowned in the Credit Valley River in Brampton in the Greater Toronto Area. No cause has yet been attributed for the death.

  • Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

    Sri Lankan Parl defeats no-confidence motion by Oppn against President Gotabaya

    A no-confidence motion tabled by the Opposition against Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was defeated in Parliament on Tuesday, media reports said. The motion by Opposition Tamil National Alliance MP M A Sumanthiran to suspend Parliament's standing orders in order to debate an expression of displeasure over President Rajapaksa was defeated with 119 MPs voting against it, the Economy Next newspaper reported. Only 68 MPs voted in favour of the motion, it said.

  • Experts say that India’s decision, coupled with the Ukraine war will create a serious problem globally.

    US envoy urges India to ‘reconsider’ wheat export ban: ‘Will worsen...’

    The United States hopes “India would reconsider” its decision to ban wheat exports which “will make the current global food shortage even worse”, an envoy said on Monday amid concerns with no end in sight for the Ukraine war. Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven nations on Saturday also emphasised that India's decision to ban wheat exports would worsen the global food shortage.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, May 17, 2022