Austria to close seven mosques and plans to expel imams in a crackdown on “political Islam” and foreign financing of religious groups

Austria’s government plans to shut down seven mosques and expel up to 40 imams in what it said was “just the beginning” of a push against Islamist ideology and foreign funding of religious groups, Reuters reports.

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

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

Turkey’s presidential spokesman on Friday lambasted Austria’s decision to expel imams and shut mosques as an “anti-Islam” and “racist” move.