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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Austria closes mosque, promises to shut more, in wake of attack

Austria will order the closure of mosques that it deems a threat to national security in the wake of a deadly shooting in the capital Vienna earlier this week, the Ministry of the Interior said on Friday.

A ministry spokesman said more details would soon be given in a news conference with Interior Minister Karl Nehammer and Integration Minister Susanne Raab.

Four people were killed in the shooting on Monday, Austria’s first big attack in decades.

The suspect, 20-year-old Austrian Macedonian, Kujtim Fejzulai, was killed by police during the assault.

Fejzulai had previously been convicted for trying to join the ISIL (ISIS) group in Syria, but was released early from prison in December.

A statement from the officially recognised Islamic Religious Community of Austria said that in “discussion with the relevant authorities, we are closing one mosque”.

The statement said the mosque was being shut after information that it had broken rules over “religious doctrine and its constitution”, as well as national legislation governing Islamic institutions.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the attack continued on Friday, with German authorities carrying out raids on people with suspected links to Fejzulai.

The attack in Vienna followed an attack in Nice, France, in which four people were killed by a man of Tunisian origin.

In the wake of several assaults, France has also begun to close mosques and is cracking down on the organisations it suspects are spreading hate.

However, there are fears of collective punishment and rising Islamophobia, especially as Barakacity, a prominent charity, was dissolved in late October.

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