Diyanet criticizes Austria for anti-mosque move

Head of Turkey's religious affairs Ali Erbas: Decision to shut down 7 mosques violates human rights, freedom of religion

Diyanet criticizes Austria for anti-mosque move

World Bulletin / News Desk

The head of Turkey's religious affairs on Friday decried Austria’s decision to shut down seven mosques and expel 40 imams.

Speaking to reporters in the Black Sea province of Ordu, Ali Erbas, head of Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), said: "This decision that the Austrian government has taken, it is a very wrong decision.

“It is a violation of human rights, human freedom and freedom of religion.”

Erbas added: “I am especially asking for a withdrawal from this decision before it goes into application because all people living on earth have the freedom to live according to their religion and worship.”

Earlier on Friday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced that seven mosques will be shut down in the country while 40 imams will be expelled on grounds of being foreign funded.

Speaking at a news conference with Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and EU Affairs Minister Gernot Blumel, Kurz said the move was part of a crackdown on "political Islam".

Kurz said an investigation on several mosques and associations conducted by the Ministry of Interior and Office of Religious Affairs had been concluded and the activities of seven mosques were found to be forbidden -- one of the mosques belongs to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations.

In 2015 when Kurz was Austria's minister for Europe, integration and foreign affairs, he had backed Austria’s “law on Islam” (Islamgesetz) -- a legislation that, among other things, banned the foreign funding of mosques and imams in Austria.

The controversial law, which eventually passed through parliament, was intended to develop an Islam of “European character,” according to Kurz.

“We act decisively and actively against undesirable developments and the formation of #parallelsocieties -- and will continue to do so if there are violations of the #law on Islam,” Kurz wrote on his Twitter account.

Last Mod: 09 Haziran 2018, 13:30
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