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Austria to introduce law that respects Islamic Sharia and invites imams to preach at public institutions
by Nicolai Sennels
The Austrian Islam Act (1912) should be amended, on the initiative of Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz. The renewal of the oldest Islamic Law in Western Europe is to take precedence over Austrian state law. The "Dialogue with Islam" initiative was started by Kurz during his time as Secretary of State for Integration in order to lay the foundation for the new law. This dialogue involves talks with radical Muslims such as the IGGiÖ (Islamic Religious Community in Austria) about how rights and obligations for Muslims in Austria should be defined in the future. In short, Islamists are invited to participate in writing the law.
Sebastian Kurz claims that this step is taken to counteract interference from abroad, as Imams are to be trained exclusively at Austrian universities, and how Islamic initiatives are funded from abroad will be discussed. The law is also to ensure that Islamic traditions are followed concerning holidays and funerals, and enables Imams to provide spiritual guidance in prisons, hospitals and in the army.
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