Majority of Austrians support closing of mosques as govt battles ‘political Islam’ – poll

Majority of Austrians support closing of mosques as govt battles ‘political Islam’ – poll
The Austrian government’s push against “political Islam” has drawn popular support, a recent poll shows. While more than 60 percent approve of the measures, 14 percent of the respondents say they were “too soft.”

A survey conducted by Unique Research for Profile Magazine revealed that 66 percent of Austrians believe the government’s decision to shut down seven mosques and to consider the expulsion of dozens of imams was right.

The number of those who say the approach is “too soft” is higher than those who believe it is “too harsh” – 14 percent to 10 percent. Ten percent of the respondents were undecided.

The results were published by the magazine on Saturday and the poll was carried out from June 11 to 15. 

Over a week ago, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced that seven mosques will be closed as a measure to confront “political Islam.” Authorities also reviewed the potential expulsion of dozens of Imams for breaking a law that prohibits them from receiving foreign funding.

Kurz also said the move is aimed against the formation of “parallel societies” in Austria and vowed to continue to fight any violations of the kind.

While the chancellor revealed that as many as 40 imams employed by Austria’s Turkish Islamic Union might be expelled, Interior Minister Herbert Kickl later said that the number was as high as 60. 

The decision has provoked a wave of outrage online and beyond. While some netizens went as far as threatening Sebastian Kurz personally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of a war “between cross and crescent” and said that Ankara would retaliate.

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