Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria on Friday ordered the closing of seven mosques and the scrutiny of the right of dozens of Turkish imams to remain in the country, citing suspected violations of an Austrian law that bans “political Islam” or foreign financing of Muslim institutions. Roughly 600,000 Muslims, most of them Turks or of Turkish descent, live in Austria, a country of 8.8 million.
Islamic State claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a deadly attack in Vienna, in a statement issued through its Amaq News Agency along with a picture and video purporting to show the gunman. The picture, released on Telegram, showed a bearded man identified as “Abu Dagnah Al-Albany”. The accompanying statement said he had attacked crowds in central Vienna on Monday before being shot dead by police.
Four people are dead and at least 14 severely injured after a shooting in Vienna’s inner district Monday evening, which was carried out by at least one attacker who was killed by officers, officials said. Police confirmed early Tuesday that three people had been killed in the attack, and later an Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed that a fourth woman had died.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his government have lost a no-confidence vote following a corruption scandal prompted by a secretly-filmed video. Kurz’s former coalition partners from the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) said they would support the motion of no-confidence put forward by the Socialist Party (SPÖ) on Monday afternoon. Kurz, who at 32 is one of the world’s youngest leaders, is the first Austrian chancellor since World War II to be defeated by a motion of no-confidence. President Alexander Van der Bellen must now dismiss Kurz and appoint a new caretaker government until snap elections can be held in September.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called time Monday on his coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party after its leader was shown on video appearing to offer favors to a purported Russian investor. Kurz said he was seeking the removal of the country’s interior minister, Freedom Party politician Herbert Kickl, to ensure an unbiased probe into the video. The Freedom Party reacted by withdrawing its ministers from the government.
Austrian lawmakers have approved plans to ban girls in elementary schools from wearing headscarves, a move that would add to existing restrictions on veils. The measure bans wearing “ideologically or religiously characterized clothing” that covers the head, and specifies that it refers to items “that cover the whole or large parts of the hair.” Austria’s previous government prohibited full-face veils in courts, schools and other “public places” and banned police officers, judges, magistrates and public prosecutors from wearing headscarves.
Austria’s People’s Party leader, Sebastian Kurz,31, declared victory, making him Europe’s youngest national leader. With Kurz’s victory, it is expected that the People’s Party and the Freedom Party will form an alliance, putting the far-right in the forefront of Austria’s government. Europe watched eagerly in the wake of the rising populist far-right parties with anti-immigration agendas.