Turkey slams Austria for steps against mosques, imams

Fri 08 June 2018 16:28 GMT | 16:28 Local Time

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Turkey on Friday slammed Austria over its decision to shut down seven mosques and expel 40 imams.

In a written statement, the Foreign Ministry said it “regretted” the Austrian move against the mosques and the decision to not grant residence permits to religious officials sent from Turkey to Austria, according to Anadolu Agency.

“We condemn Austrian politicians, especially Chancellor Kurz, for trying to achieve political interest from these alarming developments, rather than fighting racism, islamophobia and xenophobia and the rise of the extreme right,” it said.

“The ideological stance of the Austrian government is contrary to universal legal norms, social cohesion policies, minority law and the morality of living together. The normalization and the banalization of Islamophobia and racism must be rejected with certainty,” it added.

The statement also said Austria’s move also contributes to the rise of Islamophobia and racism in Europe.

It added that this decision also affects ongoing efforts to normalize ties between Turkey and Austria, and the harmony of Turkish community in Austria.

Speaking to reporters in central Kirsehir province after Friday prayers, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag termed the Austrian move as "unacceptable".

Bozdag described the decision as "the destruction of freedom of religion and conscience, and the values that define Europe".  

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