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Austria to close 7 mosques, expel imams in crackdown

AP  |  Berlin 

said today that it is closing seven mosques and plans to expel imams in a crackdown on "political Islam" and foreign financing of religious groups.

said the government is shutting a hardline Turkish nationalist in and dissolving a group called the Arab Religious Community that runs six mosques.

The actions by the government are based on a 2015 law that, among other things, prevents religious communities from getting funding from abroad.

said the residence permits of around 40 imams employed by ATIB, a group that oversees Turkish mosques in Austria, are being reviewed because of concerns about such financing.

Kickl said that, in two cases, permits have already been revoked. Five more imams were denied first-time permits.

The conservative Kurz became in December in a coalition with the anti-migration

In campaigning for last year's election, both coalition parties called for tougher immigration controls, quick deportations of asylum-seekers whose requests are denied and a crackdown on radical

The government recently announced plans to ban girls in elementary schools and kindergartens from wearing headscarves, adding to existing restrictions on veils.

"Parallel societies, political and tendencies toward radicalization have no place in our country," Kurz told reporters in He added that the government's powers to intervene "were not sufficiently used" in the past.

Today's measures are "a first significant and necessary step in the right direction," said Heinz-Christian Strache, the Freedom Party's

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 08 2018. 13:20 IST