• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
First foreign-funded imam thrown out of Austria
A mosque in Telfs, Austria. Photo: Hafelekar/Wikimedia

First foreign-funded imam thrown out of Austria

The Local · 19 Feb 2016, 12:40

Published: 19 Feb 2016 12:40 GMT+01:00

Imam Yakup Aynagoz, whose salary is paid by Turkey and who was until now an imam at the Ahi Evran mosque in St Veit an der Gölsen in Lower Austria, was ordered to leave the country within seven days after his visa was not extended.

The controversial new law on Islam was introduced in February last year following allegations that Austria had allowed extremism to gain root in the country.

The claim was backed up by a number of high-profile defections of its citizens to join Islamic State militants, including two schoolgirls who became poster girls for the jihad. Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 16, disappeared in April 2014 and are believed to have died in Syria after being married to fighters in the Isis stronghold of Raqqa.

In Austria, hundreds of mosques and Muslim organisations across the country are funded by foreign governments including Saudi Arabia, which in turn were demanding the right to be allowed to select the imam. They often imported people directly from the Middle East with little understanding of European culture and no knowledge of the German language.

Numerous news reports exposed how these organisations were not always teaching European values. It included for example Vienna’s Saudi School - a high-profile private school for Islamic immigrants from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East - that was found to be teaching conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism to children.

It also included clerics like Ebu Tejma who was suspected of recruiting hundreds of Europeans to join the jihad for Isis. When he was arrested he was found to be living in a flat with his pregnant wife and five children where cupboards were stuffed with cash and jewellery, even though he was officially unemployed and claiming benefits.

The new law requires imams to speak German so as to render their messages more accessible and transparent, and allow for a deeper integration of Islam into Austrian society. If the nearly 440 Muslim organisations in the country want to continue receiving official licensing, they must now demonstrate a "positive approach towards society and the state".

Austria's Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz, who was behind the new law said: "We want a future in which increasing numbers of imams have grown up in Austria speaking German, and can in that way serve as positive examples for young Muslims."

The first of the imams to leave the country was sent home this week despite an angry response from his followers and reproaches from Islamic groups. The Austrian constitutional court claimed that the fact the law only applied to Muslims was discrimination. He had been told the week before to leave the country.

Story continues below…

While that case is being investigated, another 65 imams have been told that their visas will not be renewed, and under the current rules that leaves them with little chance to extend their stay in the country.

Story courtesy of Central European News.

 

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

Today's headlines
Life sentence for killer driver judged to be sane
Screen grab of the car in Herrengasse. Photo: ORF

A jury in the Austrian city of Graz has found a man guilty of killing three people in the southern city last year by driving his 4x4 at high speed down a crowded pedestrian street.

Rare panda twins getting more active every day
The twins are a boy and a girl. Photo: Schönbrunn Zoo

The unique panda twins that were born two months in Vienna are developing well and growing up fast according to zookeepers.

High altitude ski resorts get less snowfall
St. Anton ski resort. Photo: 24seven/Wikimedia

Spring skiing in Austrian resorts like St. Anton or Ischgl could become a thing of the past if a long-term trend discovered by Swiss researchers continues.

Stuntman's clutch fails after driving at 300 km/h
Felix Baumgartner. Photo: Red Bull Stratos

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner has been criticised after boasting about how the clutch on his Ford GT sports car failed after he drove it for several hours at speeds of up to 300 km/per hour.

Austrian men tend to be 'critical of working mothers'
Attitudes are less conservative than in the 1950s. Photo: German Bundesarchiv

42 percent of under 45-year-olds in Austria are critical of mothers with small children who have a job, and believe “a preschooler suffers if his or her mother works”.

Paid social work 'should help asylum seekers integrate'
Refugees arriving on boats in the Mediterranean. UNHCR/Archilleas Zavallis

Refugee experts from Austria’s nine states are meeting in Graz today, to discuss how to provide asylum seekers with employment and opportunities for integration through community work.

Man hit by tram during fight between Chechens and Turks
Photo: Wiener Linien/Zinner

A man was seriously injured after being hit by a tram during a mass brawl between a group of Chechens and Turks in Vienna.

Neo-Nazi crimes on the rise in Austria
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Neo-Nazi crimes are on the rise in Austria - particularly in the states of Tyrol and Upper Austria.

Op ed
Life as a new expat in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Anastasia Gromontova is a student recently arrived from Ukraine. She writes about her experience as an expat in Vienna in her first year.

Second MERS case reported in Austria
Photo: JJRON/Wikimedia

According to a report from the WHO, a second case of the Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection (MERS-CoV) has now been reported in Austria.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Those surprising Austrians!
National
100 years since the last emperor's death
National
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Lifestyle
Have fun in September!
National
Der you learn Deutsch?
Culture
Delighted by the light
National
Beware these passport scams
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
2,471
jobs available