Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Austrian Government Proposes Dramatic Revisions In Law Governing Islamic Community

In Austria, the government presented a draft bill to Parliament earlier this month that would dramatically revise the country's 1912 Islam Law governing the status of the Muslim community.  According to AINA:
The new law would regulate at least a dozen separate issues, including relatively non-controversial matters such as Muslim holidays, Muslim cemeteries, Muslim dietary practices and the activities of Muslim clergy in hospitals, prisons and the army.
More significantly, however, the bill seeks to limit the religious and political influence of foreign governments within the Austrian Muslim community by prohibiting foreign countries--presumably Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states--from financing Islamic centers and mosques in Austria.
The legislation also seeks to prevent the growth of a parallel Islamic society in Austria by regulating mosques and requiring clerics to be trained exclusively at Austrian universities. The new law would require Muslim groups to terminate the employment of clerics who have criminal records or who are deemed to pose a threat to public safety.....
The new Islam Law also requires the Austrian Muslim community to agree on a standardized German-language translation of the Koran, the Hadiths and other Islamic religious texts. The government has argued that an official version of the texts would prevent their "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.