• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Kurz calls for Islamic school closures

The Local · 6 Dec 2015, 12:00

Published: 06 Dec 2015 12:00 GMT+01:00

The minister commissioned a study of Islamic kindergartens and associated educational groups in Austria, and was shocked by the findings.  

The report, prepared by Professor Ednan Aslan at the Institute for Islamic Studies at the University of Vienna, made for disturbing reading.

According to a report in the Kurier newspaper, the report suggests that many Muslim parents in Austria are seeking to establish a parallel world, which isolates their children from any non-Islamic influences during their formative years.

"Many parents want to create a one hundred percent Islamic environment for their children," said Aslan.

This was usually motivated by a key question asked by the parents: "How do we protect our children from the majority society, before moral decay begins?"

As a result, a competition has now arisen between the kindergartens, as to which one could offer the most conservative and most religious environment.

There are 150 Islamic kindergartens in Vienna, most of which receive state funding. "I am convinced that we should close many of these facilities right away," said Kurz.

Aslan also emphasized that there were many Muslims who were not placing their children with such extremist kindergartens, and these were going to have an easier time with integration.
 
Concerns
 
The primary concerns cited by Kurz from the report were as follows:
 
Personnel: According to Aslan's study, the child minders are almost exclusively devout Muslims, meaning that the children would not be exposed to any alternative views.  Many of the staff were trained in two-week crash courses - which in turn are offered by organizations closely linked to the organizers of the kindergartens.
 
Curriculum: There were significant differences between the official curriculum, which was used as a basis for requesting funding, and what was actually being taught, which was barely different from what can be found in madrassas in predominantly Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
 
Language: Although according to the study "almost all children need targeted language support", there is a lack of suitable staff. Many educators are partially trained abroad and "have insufficient [German] language support competence".
 
In addition, there are kindergartens in which almost no German is spoken - which is absurd, since this was made compulsory at least in the last year of kindergarten for each child, especially to deal with this issue.
 
Religion: Islam classes often offer an "outdated understanding of sin", and "fail to adequately promote pluralist thought," according to Aslan.
 
He continued: "Independent thinking and action are not promoted, enforced by the imposition of strict religious rules, and are even made taboo."
 
Stricter controls
Story continues below…
 
So what is to be done?  Kurz stressed that he was not opposed to private, religious kindergartens - of whatever denomination. "But the desire to protect children from the majority society, is highly problematic. The aim of separation is entirely the wrong approach."
 
Kurz called for an end to "the politics of ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.  Pretending that there is no problem does not help us."
 
Specifically, he added this means stricter controls at the state level on kindergartens, and if necessary, stricter national laws that govern the actions of the kindergarten management, the qualifications and training of its workers, and a stronger focus on the inculcation of German language skills.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Freedom Party claims election fraud rife
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: FPÖ

Austria's far-right is probing "countless" cases of fraud in last week's presidential election that saw its candidate lose by a narrow margin, the party chief was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Neo-Nazi arrested after asylum-seeker threats
Photo: BMI, Gregor Wenda

Austrian police commandos have arrested a suspected neo-Nazi who allegedly threatened to massacre asylum-seekers, recovering several weapons and ammunition at his home, police said Sunday.

Storms batter Upper and Lower Austria overnight
Photo: Fire brigade Bad Ischl

Violent storms in parts of Austria on Saturday night caused travel disruptions, flooding and several fires lit by lightning strikes, according to fire and rescue teams in Upper and Lower Austria.

Fresh attempt to seize Hitler's birth house
Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Austria's government submitted Friday a law to seize the house where Hitler was born, in a bid to stop the building becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.

Murder-suicide in Braunau am Inn, birthplace of Hitler
Photo: Stadtamt Braunau am Inn

A small Upper Austrian town best known for being the birthplace of Adolf Hitler has apparently witnessed a murder-suicide on Friday afternoon.

Young Austrian millionaire dies after falling from window
Monaco, where the incident happened. Photo: Tobi 87/Wikimedia

The mysterious death of a 43-year-old Austrian millionaire is being investigated by authorities after he fell from a window of his luxury home in Monaco.

Weekend promises both hailstones and sunshine
Strandbad Alte Donau. Photo: Stadt Wien

Depending on where you are in Austria this weekend, expect either thunderstorms or 31 degree sunshine.

Austria's 'free sex' brothel owner arrested in tax dispute
Herman Pascha/Youtube

An Austrian brothel owner who made worldwide headlines in 2015 when he offered free sex to punters as a protest against paying tax has once again run into trouble with the taxman.

Austria's super rich are becoming 'poorer'
One of Austria's richest people Ferdinand Piëch. Stuart Mentiply/Wikimedia.

Austria’s richest people are not quite as rich as they used to be - although the country’s wealthiest family are still worth €35 billion.

Captain America inspiration behind Vienna Hyperloop
HTT

Anyone who still holds on to their childhood dream of being a superhero will be delighted by the name of the state-of-the-art technology behind a transport system planned for Vienna.

Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
Lifestyle
How a chance meeting on the slopes led to a new business
Lifestyle
What it means to be human
Technology
How a town became a green icon
Lifestyle
Why Austria has the world's best ski resort
Lifestyle
Let them eat cake!
Lifestyle
Top tips for partying like an Austrian
Culture
Five places to learn how to cook Viennese cuisine
Lifestyle
How living in Austria will improve your lifestyle
Lifestyle
Backstage at the World Beard and Moustache Championship
Gallery
Up to 60,000 people welcomed refugees in Vienna
Culture
Can you spot an Austrian?
Lifestyle
Our pick of Vienna's best vegetarian restaurants
Analysis & Opinion
Italy's South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers
National
Lost on the way to sanctuary
2,483
jobs available