Muslims protest over anti-extremism vote

Muslims protest over anti-extremism vote

Austria’s parliament today passed a bill that prevents Muslim organisations from receiving  foreign funding.

The vote, predictably, was met with protests, but surprisingly – according to this report – the country’s main Islamic group, the Islamic Religious Authority of Austria, approved the bill, which accords Muslims the right to consult Islamic clerics on the staffs of hospitals, retirement homes, prisons and in the armed forces.

Muslims in Austria will also have the right to halal meals in those institutions as well as in public schools, and will be allowed to skip work on Islamic holidays.

But Turkey’s leading Muslim cleric, Mehmet Gormez, decried the bill as “a 100-year regression”, arguing no complaints have ever been lodged about the fact that Turkey funds many imams in Austria.

The new legislation aims to promote what conservative Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz calls an “Islam of European character” by muting the influence of foreign Muslim nations and organisations, and offering Austrian Muslims a mix of increased rights and obligations.

Austria’s old “law on Islam” dates back to 1912. The bill tabled to amend the 2012 law was first proposed two years ago, and predates the recent jihadist violence in France and Denmark. It was designed to “clearly combat” the growing influence of radical Islam, Kurz said.

Voting on the law came amid estimates that around 200 people from Austria – including women and minors – had gone to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist militias.

A poll published by the OGM institute yesterday found 58 percent of Austrians felt that radicalisation of the nation’s Muslims was underway.

Austrian Muslims carry banners and shout slogans during a protest in Vienna in 2012 against a film about Islam made in the US and Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cartoons. Photo REUTERS/Leonhard

Austrian Muslims carry banners and shout slogans during a protest in Vienna in 2012 against a film about Islam made in the US and Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cartoons. Photo REUTERS/Leonhard

The amended law also requires the almost 450 Muslim organisations in the country to demonstrate a “positive approach towards society and the state” in order to continue receiving official licensing.

Imams will be obliged to be able to speak German under the law – a measure designed to make their comments more accessible and transparent, while also facilitating the fuller integration of Islam into wider Austrian society.

Kurz explained:

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.

Earlier this month French Prime Minister Manuel Valls similarly raised the notion of banning foreign funding of Islamic organisations. Kurz said that officials in Germany and Switzerland have also expressed interest in the bill.

Austria’s far-right Freedom Party criticised the bill as insufficientdoes not go far enough to combat a rising threat, and dismissed it as a “placebo”.

Muslims make up roughly 560,000 of Austria’s total population of 8.5 million. Mist Austrian Muslims are of Turkish and Bosnian origin, as well as ethnic Chechens and Iranians.

Hat tip: Marcus Robinson

10 responses to “Muslims protest over anti-extremism vote”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Austrian Muslims carry banners and shout slogans during a protest in Vienna.

    Muslims taking to the streets in a hissy fit of pre-meditated pique? Gosh, who’d have thought it?

  2. Cali Ron says:

    Shocked I am, shocked that there’s protesting in the streets. Here’s your protest sign.

  3. barriejohn says:

    Well, we all know what the problem is with foreign “funding” of mosques, imams, schools, etc, throughout Europe, but although I am no expert on Austrian law I sincerely hope that no foreign (eg American) money is funding Christian evangelists, Mormon missionaries, Scientologists, and so on, in that country. Maybe that is prohibited already.

  4. AgentCormac says:

    @ barriejohn

    Excellent point. These bastards are all as insidious, toxic and harmful as each other. Each of them just happens to think they have exclusive access to the truth and that everybody else is so wrong they are going to burn in a pit of flames for eternity for being so naive. What a bunch of idiots!

  5. Cali Ron says:

    I wish the US could stop American money from funding religion in America! Impossible I know, but even just stopping the tax breaks and other government subsidies that religion takes advantage of here would be a good start. With all the unemployed adults, children living in poverty and going to bed hungry and homeless people in America the money could obviously be better spent than on saving “souls”. It’s really ridiculous that in the most wealthy country in the world with all our resources that so much poverty and hunger persists. Our priorities are seriously fucked up over here with people more worried about peoples souls after death than their suffering in life.

  6. Trevor Blake says:

    Catholics used to whinge about their clergy being seen as ambassadors from the Holy See. Then their clergy started claiming (and receiving) diplomatic immunity against charges of raping children. And it was revealed the practice of moving rapist clergy to a new parish was a policy established in the Holy See. So there is a precedent for concern about international relations among such bottom-feeding parasites.

  7. Brummie says:

    Count the number of women in the lead picture.

  8. Caute says:

    I am totally pissed off with in your face, whinging, whining muslim ‘victims’. If they don’t like it here or in whatever civilised country they are in they are quite welcome to fuck off to live in the primitive, islamic, intolerant, failing, impoverished sandpit countries of their choice. There are plenty to choose from. On the other hand if they integrate, grow up, obey the real laws, get work, contribute to society and start behaving like responsible real citizens and practice their laughable religion in private then they will be welcome to stay. By the way…I consider all religions laughable but islam as far as I can see is an abomination and a threat to world peace and human decency.

  9. dennis says:

    @Cali Ron
    RIGHT ON, Brother

  10. Vanity Unfair says:

    Note to demonstrator:
    The phrase “verfassungstreue regierung” really does not belong on a demo poster, especially not one that size.