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Austria passes new law targeting Muslim comminutes

26 February 2015 9:35


Austria’s parliament has passed a controversial law prohibiting the funding of Muslim organizations by foreign sources and obligating imams to be capable of speaking German.

Austria’s conservative Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz has said the new law passed on Wednesday aims to promote “Islam of European character” by dimming the influence and funding of foreign Muslim nations and organizations .

“We want a future in which increasing numbers of imams have grown up in Austria speaking German, and can in that way serve as positive examples for young Muslims,” said Kurz before the parliamentary vote.

Offering the country’s Muslims some increased rights, the legislation also adds requirements in practicing their religion.

On Tuesday, protesters against the new law gathered outside the parliament building in Vienna.

The bill has sparked opposition from various quarters, such as Austrian Muslim groups, which have labeled it a “discrimination” that restricts only their religion and not others’.

“Austria will go back 100 years in freedom with its Islam bill,” said Turkey’s leading Muslim cleric Mehmet Gormez.

Austria is the home of roughly half a million Muslims, which is six percent of the country’s population.

Kruz said that Austria’s neighbors Germany and Switzerland have also expressed interest in similar legislation.

According to Kurz, the bill’s proposal, which predates the recent attacks in France and Denmark, was designed to “clearly combat” radical acts of terror.

On February 17, one person was killed and three police officers were wounded when a gunman attacked a café in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Hours later, the assailant attacked the main synagogue of Copenhagen, killing one person and injuring two policemen.

Moreover, a series of attacks across the Île-de-France region of France from January 7 to January 9 killed 17 people as well as the three ISIL-linked gunmen involved in the assaults on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo weekly and a supermarket.

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