A big part of the issue is also that other religions are allowed to receive funding from foreign nations whereas Islam and Austrian Muslims are being singled out for particular scrutiny and a different law.
Muslim groups condemned the bill specifically stating the ban on funding is unfair because international support is still given for Christian and Jewish faiths. They are planning to contest the bill in the constitutional court. (CarbonatedTV)
A bill reforming a centuries-old law governing the status of Muslims has just been passed by Austria’s National Council or parliament. The law has sparked discussion over the relationship between state and religion and the status of 560,000 Austrian Muslims. In a controversial move, the Islam Law bans foreign funding of mosques and religious leaders and reminds Muslims that state law takes precedence over religious belief.
The bill protects Muslim religious holidays; allows Muslims to consult clerics while in the military, prisons and care homes; and receive food in accordance with Islamic rules. The law encourages preaching Islam in German, instead of Turkish as is common in Muslim communities.
Translation: “@qaasimilli: Austrian Muslims speak up and defend yourself against getting forced into the corset of a church-like organisation. The Islam Law cannot be accepted”.
Muslime in Österreich, wacht auf und wehrt euch gegen das Korsett einer Zwangsverkirchlichung des Islams. Das #Islamgesetz ist inakzeptabel.
— Qaasim Illi (@qaasimilli) February 25, 2015
Translation: “@omerigac: The new Islam Law in Austria is a governmental injustice and a setback for religious freedom”.
Translation: “@mpopp75: I can understand Muslims annoyed by the Islam Law. I would also be annoyed by a law on atheists or people with no confession”.
Ich kann Moslems verstehen, wegen #Islamgesetz angefressen zu sein. Ich wär über Atheisten- oder Konfessionslosengesetz auch angefressen.
— Markus Popp (@mpopp75) February 25, 2015
Meanwhile the President of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland tweeted: “A very questionable Islam Law has been passed in Austria. Is this another sign for bad weather for Islam in Europe?”
Cartoonists were quick to play on the idea of Austrian Islam. Below, a man performs a “Jodel”, a traditional Austrian song from a minaret, while an Austrian says: “Islam, Austrian style. Wasn’t that hard was it?”
— Kostas Koufogiorgos (@Koufogiorgos) December 14, 2014
Translation: “@duduhier: Almost ingenious, Islam should become more Austrian. Bravo!”