SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

Muslims criticize Law on Islam bill

Fuat Sanac, the President of the Islamic Community in Austria (IGGiÖ), has criticized the government’s draft bill for the new Law on Islam.

Muslims criticize Law on Islam bill
Fuat Sanac. Photo: APA/BMI/ALEXANDER TUMA

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”.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

POLITICS

EXPLAINED: Who will be Tyrol’s new governor?

The Austrian state of Tyrol held elections over the weekend with historical results, especially for the leading ÖVP party. So who will be its new governor?

EXPLAINED: Who will be Tyrol's new governor?

The western Austrian state of Tyrol is a stronghold for the centre-right party ÖVP, which also leads the governing coalition in the federal government. On Sunday, Austrian citizens went to the polls for the state parliament elections, forming new legislation – and putting their support on their favourite candidates.

Even though the ÖVP got most of the votes, it is far from getting a majority and will need to enter into a coalition to rule. The party got 34.71 percent of the votes, down by 9.55 percentage points from the previous elections and a significant setback for the blacks. However, this gives them 14 seats in parliament.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How do Austrians elect their chancellor?

The centre-left SPÖ ended with 17.48 percent of the votes – just 0.23 percentage points higher than the last vote in 2018, getting seven seats. On the other hand, the far-right FPÖ got a major victory, upping their results by 3.31 percentage points and reaching 18.84 percent, guaranteeing seven seats in parliament.

The Grüne ended with 9.20 percent (three seats), Fritz with 9.90 percent (three seats), Neos with 6.28 percent (two seats), MFG with 2.78 percent, KPÖ with 0.67 percent and Mach mit with 0.13 percent.

How does the election process work?

Tyrol, much like the Austrian federal government, has a parliamentary system. This means voters will choose the parties they want to have seats in the state parliament. So, for example, ÖVP will get about a third of the seats in the house.

The parties need a minimum percentage of votes to get representation in the parliament. Even though MFG, KPÖ and Mach Mit got votes, they have failed to elect representatives and gain seats in the state parliament.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: What exactly does the president do?

After the parliament is elected, its members then choose a governor. In practice, since the parties already run with a suggested government candidate, people who vote for them also know which person they elect for the executive position.

In the case of ÖVP, Anton Mattle, the 59-year-old career politician, was the party’s choice for the top state job. Had the party won more than 50 percent of the votes, they would be able to elect Mattle, the new governor, without discussing it with other parties.

But, since it didn’t, the ÖVP now will start talks with other parties looking to form a majority government and elect Mattle – plus ensure that by having a clear majority in the state parliament, they will be able to pass legislation.

What coalitions are possible?

Technically, any coalitions between two or more parties that lead to a majority in the state legislature are possible, even those without ÖVP. However, since the centre-right party got the most votes, it traditionally receives the right to try and form a government first.

Experts believe the most likely scenario is for a major coalition between the blacks and the reds, meaning the ÖVP and the SPÖ. They would have to discuss their main government proposals, the distribution of executive positions and other points to see if an ÖVP-SPÖ government is possible.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: Why 1.4 million people can’t vote

An ÖVP-FPÖ coalition could also technically have a majority, but Mattle had already rejected the idea of an agreement with only the far-right.

Additionally, ÖVP could look into a three-way coalition, bringing, for example, the Grüne and Fritz to the government.

So who will be the next governor?

It is most likely that Anton Mattle, from the ÖVP, will get the job. The only question is who his party will be ruling with.

He told Austrian media that the exploratory talks for a coalition agreement would start in the coming days.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: Who are the seven candidates?

SHOW COMMENTS