Mosques targeted by Austria
AUSTRIA is to expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families, and shut seven mosques, in a crackdown on “political Islam”.
“The circle of people possibly affected by these measures, the pool that we’re talking about, comprises around 60 imams,” Interior Minister Herbert Kickl of the far-Right Freedom Party, junior partner in Austria’s coalition government, said.
Kickl was referring to imams with alleged links to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations organisation, a branch of Turkey’s religious affairs agency Diyanet. He said he suspects them of contravening a ban on foreign funding of religious officeholders.
The ministry said some imams had already been referred to immigration authorities, where a process for expelling them was underway.
A total of 150 people risked losing their right to residence.
Ankara, Turkey’s capital, denounced the move, however other European far-Right leaders — including Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French Front National, and Matteo Salvini, head of Italy’s League and Interior Minister in the new government — welcomed it.