Politics

Austrian court axes decision to shut down mosques

Far-right government last year decided to shut 7 mosques and expel imams

15.02.2019
Austrian court axes decision to shut down mosques

VIENNA 

A court in Austria annulled a government plan to shut down six mosques belonging to the Arab community, a Muslim body said late on Thursday.

In a statement, Umit Vural, head of the Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IGGO), said that the Vienna court annulled the government’s decision to close six mosques.

He added that courts have an important role to play in a period when populism is dominant.

Last year, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s far-right government in Austria decided to shut seven mosques and expel tens of imams.

During a news conference, Kurz said the move came as part of a crackdown on "political Islam".

Kurz said that the investigation by the Ministry of Culture and Interior had found out the activities of seven mosques -- one of them belonging to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) -- unlawful.

The Turkish mosque was reopened after it fulfilled state regulations last year in June.

Reporting by Askin Kiyagan:Writing by Handan Kazanci

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