Threats to Austrian chancellor over mosque closures

Austrian government decision to close seven mosques, expel 60 imams leads to wave of death threats to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Mordechai Sones ,

Kurz at Western Wall
Kurz at Western Wall
Avi Hayoun, Foreign Ministry

The Austrian Secret Service launched an investigation after Chancellor Sebastian Kurz received a series of threats to his life.

The threats came after the Austrian government passed a bill ordering closure of seven mosques and deportation of at least 60 imams under sanctions for "preaching Islamic hatred and politicization".

Kurz himself said after the decision "parallel societies, political Islam, and the tendency to extremism has no place in our country." Some of the mosques and imams were suspected by the Austrian government of preaching hatred against the local population. The move was strongly condemned by Turkish President Erdogan, who said "this could lead to a war between the Cross and the Crescent."

The Austrian government decision angered members of the Muslim community in Austria and Muslim organizations around the world. Some commentators on social networks sent explicit threats to the Austrian chancellor's life following the decision and wrote that he must "prepare for death". Others wrote that "Kurz will soon find himself in a garbage can" while others were satisfied with the inscription "Allahu Akhbar".

The Austrian Chancellor's Office confirmed that Kurz had indeed received explicit threats to his life "on Facebook, Instagram, social networks, and other messaging software". The Austrian Interior Ministry announced that the Secret Service had opened an investigation to try to locate the men who sent the threats. In addition, several steps have been taken to protect the Chancellor currently visiting Israel.