Austria has stated that it will close seven mosques and expel allegedly foreign-funded imams as part of its suppression of “political Islam.”
After the immigration crisis in Europe, the coalition government, conservatives and ultra-rightist coalitions quickly took power and promised to prevent a second influx and limit the welfare of new immigrants and refugees.
Austria has a population of 8.8 million and about 600,000 Muslim residents, most of whom are Turkish or have Turkish origin.
Some mosques are suspected of being associated with Turkish nationalists. Photographs in April showed that children from a Turkish-based mosque were re-enacting the battle in the First World War of Gallipoli in Turkish military uniforms.
“Parallel societies, political Islam and radicalisation have no place in our country,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.
The Gallipoli recreation took place in a mosque reported to be managed by the Turkish Super Nationalist Gray Wolf in Vienna’s Favititen district. The group has branches in several countries.
Austrian media reported that the boy’s actor died and was covered by the Turkish flag.
The Austrian public broadcaster ORF stated that photographs of children making wolf greetings also came from the same mosques.
The government stated that a society operating a mosque in Vienna and influenced by the “grey wolves” of the Turkish nationalist youth group will be closed down for illegal business. It added that an Arab Muslim group operating at least six mosques will also be closed.
“This is just the beginning,” said far-right deputy headmaster Heinz-Christian Sacchi at a press conference held by four cabinet members.