In a bold move for the current political climate in Europe, the Austrian government has determined that several mosques in the country are being illegally funded by foreign financing. After examining the Islamic associations and mosques, The Department of Education has ordered the closure of seven mosques as well as the deportation of 40 imams of the association "Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria" (ATIB).
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The organization ATIB has also had their residence permit in Austria rescinded. The reason for the expulsion is because of a violation of the foreign financing law. The Imams received financing prohibited by the Islamic Law and 11 imams have already been tried and sentenced. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), Interior Minister Herbert Kickl (FPÖ) and the Minister for Cultural Affairs Chancellor Gernot Blümel (ÖVP) said Friday morning the closure of the mosques was decided on for the Islamic law violation.
<i>"No room for radicalization tendencies."</i>
Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache added, "The parallel societies and radicalization tendencies have no place in our country. We cannot tolerate hate sermons under the guise of a religion." The Kultusamt-Bescheid immediately closed the seven mosques but they do have the right to appeal. One mosque association "Nizam -i Alem" was reported by the Islamic religious community itself for illegal activity although the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGÖ) has declined to comment.
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Blümel said the investigation into the imams started when the Department of Culture passed on suspicion of foreign funding of ATIB imams to the Interior Department. A total of 40 suspected cases are under investigation according to Interior Minister Kicki.
The Interior Minister also said, "We are only just beginning Federal Chancellor Kurz and I have instructed all ministries to act decisively, and if that is not enough we will evaluate the legal situation." The shutting down of the terror-funded mosques was frowned upon by Turkey who fiercely criticized the mosques' closures by the Austrian government.
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