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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Austria: Two Mosques Closed by Government Order

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Following the terrorist attacks, the government decided to close two places of worship and disband two religious associations.

Following the terrorist attacks in Austria, the government decided to close two Muslim mosques, accusing them of radicalizing the perpetrator of the attacks. This decision, however, could have worse consequences as Muslims living in Austria will consider their religion to be targeted. The government states that this decision is not about targeting religion.

The closure of the two mosques, in the 12th and 16th sectors of Vienna, was ordered after a meeting between Susanne Raab and Interior Minister Carl Nehamer with the President of the Islamic Religious Community Umit Vural, regarding their legal status and dissolution of the religious associations.

The Minister of Integration and Religions said that the Islamic Religious Community was informed on Thursday by the Ministry of Interior that the perpetrator often visited the two mosques, one of which, the one in the 12th sector, was established as a parish by the Islamic Religious Community in 2016.

The immediate closure is in the interest of public safety, as the “positive attitude towards society and the state” required by Islamic law does not exist, she said.

The minister announced that the other mosque in the 16th sector of the Austrian capital is not under the jurisdiction of the Islamic Religious Community, and in this case a process of dissolution has begun, according to the law on associations.

According to the Constitution Protection Service, this mosque also favored the radicalization of the perpetrator of the terrorist attack, and this mosque is said to have been regularly visited, among others, by the Islamist Muhammad M. and Lorenz K., who has sentenced to nine years in prison as a terrorist of the Islamic State.

The minister clarified that the closure of the two mosques is not an attack on a religion, but “a common struggle against the exploitation of religion for radicalism.”
In relation to the radicalization of these mosques, it mainly concerns the ideology that is being transferred, which may not yet have a criminal significance, but one must also take “precautionary action against this fertile ground of ideology,” the Austrian minister of Integration and Religions Susanne Raab said.

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