Austria to shut down seven mosques and expel imams in 'political Islam' crackdown

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz

Austria's government is closing seven mosques and plans to expel imams in a crackdown on "political Islam" and foreign financing of mosques.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said today that the government is shutting a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in Vienna and dissolving a group called the Arab Religious Community which runs six mosques.

The actions by the government were based on a 2015 law that, among other things, prevents religious communities from getting funding from abroad.

Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said the residence permits of around 40 imams employed by ATIB, which oversees Turkish mosques in Austria, are being reviewed.

He said that, in two cases, permits have already been revoked. Five more imams have been denied first-time permits.

The conservative Mr Kurz governs in a coalition with the anti-migration Freedom Party.

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