Mosque closed due to Vienna attack set to reopen

A Vienna mosque ordered shut after last year's jihadist attack that left four people dead can reopen, an Islamic community official said Monday.

Mosque closed due to Vienna attack set to reopen
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz lays a wreath at a memorial to the victims of the Vienna terrorist attack. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

The Tewhid mosque was one of two closed down after authorities found gunman Kujtim Fejzulai, who killed four people in central Vienna in November, frequented them.

Austria’s main Islamic body, the Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IGGOe), has agreed to let the mosque reopen after an internal probe, the group’s spokeswoman Valerie Mussa told AFP.

Police said last month they had to withdraw the closure order after they found Fejzulai just visited the place together with others who held radical beliefs, but none of them were involved with the association running the mosque.

ANALYSIS: Vienna terror attack was ‘only a matter of time’

“As it now turns out, the claim brought to us that there was an imminent danger cannot be substantiated,” IGGOe president Uemit Vural said in a statement.

Closing a place of worship should “in no case be arbitrary”, the statement added.

However Susanne Raab, the minister in charge of religious matters under Austria’s conservative government, called the IGGOe’s decision to allow the Tewhid mosque to reopen “incomprehensible and irresponsible”.

The shooting was Austria’s first major attack in decades and its first blamed on a jihadist. Police killed Fejzulai, a 20-year-old convicted Islamic State sympathiser.

Prosecutors say around 10 suspects are still in custody over the attack but that as yet no charges have been pressed.

A man was arrested last week as investigators look into whether he was an active accomplice or simply knew of Fejzulai’s plans.

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‘Decomposing smell’: Austrian police called due to smelly shoes

Austria's police department said they were called to an apartment complex in Vienna after a person was concerned about a "smell of decomposition".

'Decomposing smell': Austrian police called due to smelly shoes

This week, the Viennese police department started a weekly ‘series’ of sharing interesting stories on their social media accounts

Calling the series ‘Misunderstanding Wednesday’ (Missverständnismittwoch), the very first post is about a call they received to an apartment complex after a concerned citizen complained to emergency services about a “smell of decomposition in the staircase”.

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The alleged corpse, it turns out, was just the neighbour’s smelly shoes which were left in the building corridor, in front of their apartment.

The police didn’t say when exactly the incident took place.

“When our colleagues are called because of the ‘smell of decomposition in the staircase’… and notice that the stunk is from the neighbour’s shoes which were left in front of the apartment door”, the official Twitter account of the Vienna police department reads.

‘When in doubt it is an emergency’

The authorities were light-hearted about the misunderstanding, even sharing a “meme-like” picture on their social media accounts, saying “some missions turn out to be different than initially assumed”.

READ ALSO: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

However, they reiterated that the misunderstandings should not deter people from calling 133, the emergency police number. They added that in case of emergencies and even if you are not sure, the authorities should be called and they will assist you.

“Note: in case of doubt, it is an emergency”, the Vienna police department says. “Never be afraid to dial the emergency number.”