‘Just the beginning’: Austria announces plans to close several mosques, deport dozens of imams

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Friday that the government is planning to shutter seven mosques and expel dozens of imams from the country.

At a press conference, Kurz declared, “Parallel societies, political Islam and radicalization have no place in our country.” Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache echoed: “This is just the beginning.”

Following years of build-up during Europe’s ongoing migration crisis, Austrian voters have elected conservative leaders who have vowed to “crack down” on government benefits for immigrants and “political Islam.”

In 2015, the Austrian government passed a so-called “law on Islam,” which prohibited the funding of religious groups by outside entities, and required Muslims to have “a positive fundamental view towards (Austria’s) state and society.”

The imams being considered for deportation — as many as 60 — are being funded by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria (ATIB), a group aligned with the Turkish government. – READ MORE

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