By: V4 Agency
The Austrian Muslim Youth Association (MJÖ) is considering filing a lawsuit against the “map of Islam” presented by ÖVP’s integration minister Susanne Raab. The organisation believes that the publication of the database – which is otherwise part of the growing battle against political Islam in Austria – goes beygond any bounds.
The map of Islam was compiled by Professor Ednan Aslan, an expert on Islamic religion in Vienna, and presented by Minister Susanne Raab with the help of the Documentation Centre for Political Islam on Thursday. The map contains data about 600 Muslim associations, including those with a clear legal background and others which are dubious in terms of security.
The online map aims to give an overview of Muslim associations and flag those which represent “political islam,” Aslam says. The Austrian integration ministry published the map to enhance transparency in the struggle against radical Islamist groups. The project was also supported by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP).
The online edition of Krone reported that Professor Ednan Aslan, the project manager had received death threats, presumably from Salafist circles based in Germany.
“The criminalisation of Muslim life must be stopped as earliy as possible, and the map of Islam should be withdrawn from the internet,” the Austrian Muslim Youth (MJÖ) said on Friday, claiming the personal and data protection rights of private individuals. In an interview with the Austrian public television, MJÖ President Adis Serifovic expressed concern that the publication of the map would result in racist attacks.
The online edition of ORF writes that there are no problems with the publication of the data, they are stored in the official database of the association, which is searchable.
Mouhanad Khorchide, chairman of the scientific advisory board of the documentation centre, also defended the map: he said it was very important to make “Muslim life” transparent, as this transparency also builds trust in the Austrian population.
According to the Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IGGÖ), after the announcement of the anti-terrorism package, the published “map of Islam” also testifies to “the government’s obvious intention to stigmatise all Muslims living in Austria as a potential source of danger.” The map is believed to fuel racism and “expose Muslim citizens as a huge security risk.”
According to the right-wing party FPÖ, the map data confirmed the voices warning of the dangers of “excessive and mostly illegal migration from Islamic cultures”, and with more than 600 institutions in the database, it became clear “how widespread Islam and Islamist currents in Austria” are.
However, party security spokesman Hannes Amesbauer believes there is still “a lot of information missing” on the map about individual mosques, associations and religious communities. The map was also welcomed by Ernst Gödl, integration spokesman for the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). The events of the past year have shown the need to fight “political Islam,” he said.