Because Islam is Islam, there are no private interpretations, no matter how many times that tired meme is trotted out for public consumption.
Austria Passes Reforms to 1912 Islam Law
by Soeren Kern
February 27, 2015 at 5:00 am
The new law, which the Austrian government says could serve as a model for the rest of Europe, seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.
The Turkish government has expressed outrage at the financing ban, which it says amounts to “Islamophobia.”
“Countries cannot have their own version of Islam. Islam is universal and its sources are clear. … [E]fforts taken by state leaders to create a version of Islam that is particular to their own countries are futile.” — Mehmet Görmez, Head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate.
The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools and are on the verge of overtaking Catholics in elementary schools.
At the same, time Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam.
The Austrian parliament has approved controversial reforms to the country’s century-old Islam Law (Islamgesetz), governing the status of Muslims in the country.
The new law, which was passed on February 25, is aimed at integrating Muslims and fighting Islamic radicalism by promoting an “Islam with an Austrian character.”
Among other changes, the new law seeks to reduce outside meddling by prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria. It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.
The Austrian government says the new law is a milestone and could serve as a model for the rest of Europe. But Muslim groups say it is discriminatory and have vowed to challenge it in court.
The new law overhauls the original Islam Law, which dates back to 1912. The original law was passed in order to help integrate Muslim soldiers into the Habsburg Imperial Army after the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. The law recognized Islam as an official religion in Austria, and allowed Muslims to practice their religion in accordance with the laws of the state.
After the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in the aftermath of World War I, the number of Muslims in Austria was reduced to just a few hundred people. After World War II, however, Austria’s Muslim population increased rapidly with the arrival of “guest workers” from Turkey and the Balkans in the 1960s, and refugees from Bosnia in the 1990s.
According to data compiled by the University of Vienna, the Muslim population in Austria now exceeds 574,000 (or roughly 7% of the total population), up from an estimated 340,000 (or 4.25%) in 2001 and 150,000 (or 2%) in 1990.