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Austria to expel up to 60 imams, shuts 7 mosques

AFP  |  Vienna 

could expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families as part of a crackdown on "political Islam", said today.

"The circle of people possibly affected by these measures - the pool that we're talking about - comprises around 60 imams," said Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), the junior in Austria's coalition government. In total 150 people risked losing their right to residence, he said at a press conference in

Seven mosques will also be shut after an investigation by the religious affairs authority into images which emerged in April of children in a Turkish-backed mosque playing dead and reenacting the World War I battle of Gallipoli.

"Parallel societies, political and radicalisation have no place in our country," of the ruling centre-right People's Party said. In several cases the process of expelling imams connected to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organisation was underway, Kickl said.

The added that the government suspects them of contravening a ban on foreign funding of religious office holders. ATIB is a branch of Turkey's religious affairs agency

The photos of children, published by weekly, showed the young boys in camouflage uniforms marching, saluting, waving Turkish flags and then playing dead.

Their "corpses" were then lined up and draped in the flags.

The mosque in question was run by ATIB and is one of those that will be closed.

ATIB itself condemned the photos at the time, calling the "highly regrettable" event and said that "called off before it had even ended".

Turkey's relations with have long been strained, with Kurz calling on the to break off negotiations on joining the bloc.

Last week Turkish attacked Kurz, saying: "This immoral has a problem with us".

"He's throwing his weight around and making a scene," Erdogan went on.

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

First Published: Fri, June 08 2018. 14:35 IST
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