Austrian authorities will shut down seven mosques and several organizations as part of a crackdown on “political Islam,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced Friday.
“Radicalization and political Islam have no place in our country,” Austria’s 31-year-old leader told a press conference in Vienna.
The government will close seven mosques, dissolve the country’s Arab Cultural Community and ban a mosque run by the Turkish ultra-nationalist group Grey Wolves.
The move marks the first application of the 2015 Islam Act, which prohibits religious communities from raising funds from abroad. The government is also looking into terminating the residency permits of some 40 imams who receive foreign funding, according to Interior Minister Hebert Kickl.
The announcement follows an April investigation by Austria’s religious affairs authority after images were published showing children in Turkish-funded mosques reenacting World War I battles, playing dead and being wrapped in Turkish flags.
“It’s important that [religious] values are not abused through political indoctrination,” Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria’s vice chancellor and leader of the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) party, said.
Turkey slammed the move as “racist” and “anti-Islam,” AFP reported.