Mosques across Austria will remain closed until April 30th, despite the Islamic holy month of Ramadan starting a week before the lockdown is due to be lifted.
The Austrian Islamic Community (IGGÖ) said it would continue to respect the government’s lockdown measures, with the association’s president Ümit Vural urging Austria’s Muslims to celebrate the start of Ramadan at home by turning their homes into mosques.
“Islam has lived in the community. In the current situation, however, it is important to illuminate our houses with prayers and recitations and to turn them into mosques,” Vural said this week, tabloid Kronen Zeitung reports.
As Muslims have been absent from local mosques, so too have their donations. The IGGÖ acknowledged the financial losses of mosques in Austria and called for a donation campaign to aid those which have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Austrian City Labelled Radical Islamic Extremist ‘Stronghold’ https://t.co/QsZeQI58Rb
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 12, 2017
Founded in 1979, the IGGÖ is one of the largest Muslim organisations in the country and represents many Muslims in Austria. It has been criticised in the past for having links to the Turkish regime and the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
In recent years, Austria has also seen several radical mosques arise whose leadership may be less likely to abide by the lockdown measures.
Graz was labelled a radical Islamist “stronghold” in 2017 with a report claiming that up to half of the mosques in the city were preaching some form of radical Islam.
In areas where Muslims have been refused access to mosques, such as in the French city of Clichy in 2017, members of the community prayed outside in large numbers instead.
Senior Imam: Austrian Prisons ‘Breeding Grounds’ for Islamic Extremism https://t.co/B8nAsMuyXW
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 29, 2017
The month of Ramadan has also been associated with violence in many countries. In the city of Montpellier, business owners demanded extra security from the local government in 2019 after arguing that Ramadan violence had increased over the past several years.
Others have even attempted to use Ramadan fasting as an excuse for violent behaviour, including a man living in Sweden who blamed his hunger for causing him to lose control and beat his wife and children.