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Muslims criticize Law on Islam bill

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Muslims criticize Law on Islam bill
Fuat Sanac. Photo: APA/BMI/ALEXANDER TUMA
12:35 CEST+02:00
Fuat Sanac, the President of the Islamic Community in Austria (IGGiÖ), has criticized the government's draft bill for the new Law on Islam.

He told ORF radio that the bill touched on issues which had not previously been agreed with the IGGiÖ.

The government announced the bill when Sanac was on the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. He said he had asked ministers to wait 16 days until he had returned to Austria but they had refused.

Sunac said that the proposed ban on foreign funding of Muslim organisations was “naive”. He said that people would be able to get around it by “receiving funding from abroad but withdrawing the money here with an ATM card”. He also warned that Austria risked offending Muslim countries.

He said that the law would not help in the struggle against radicalised Muslims in Austria - “if laws could control or prohibit these people we would have already used them”, he said.  

He also expressed scepticism about the plan for standardised German-language translations of the Koran, as suggested by Foreign and Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz.

The Muslim Youth of Austria (MJÖ) has also criticized the bill. At a press conference on Wednesday the organization called for a revision of the text and complained that Muslims were being treated "unequally” compared to other religious communities. It said that the draft bill degraded Muslims to "second-class citizens".

MJÖ board member Dudu Kücükgöl said the bill had caused "great indignation" and that if it became law it could mean that some Muslim organisations could no longer exist and their religious work would be “driven underground”.

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