After raids on Salafist organizations in Germany, the Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has called for a ban on the distribution of the Islamic holy book.
The Salafist organization “The True Religion” were the subjects of a nationwide crackdown in Germany earlier this week as the group was banned in the country. In Austria, the group is still allowed to operate and to foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz this is unacceptable. He has called for a ban on Salafist organizations and their distribution of the Koran reports Wiener Zeitung.
The “True Religion” organization is known for it’s “Lies!” or in English “Read!” campaign and was formed initially in Germany by radical Salafist preacher Ibrahim Abou-Nagie who resides in Cologne. Mr. Abou-Nagie is rumoured to receive his funding from Saudi Arabian backers and the group distribute the Koran in many countries across the continent while preaching their radical form of the religion.
In Austria, the groups set up stalls along the busy Mariahilfestrasse shopping district, which are largely staffed by Chechen migrants and others who have recently converted to Islam.
Ahmad Mansour, a former Islamist, who has warned previously of the dangers of young Muslims becoming radicalised by Salafist group, welcomed the German government’s ban on the group and its activities. Austrian political scientist Thomas Schmidinger feels differently saying that the ban would “do more harm than good,”
In the UK the group also operates without a problem on high streets across the country. Earlier this week founder Abou-Nagie personally handed out copies of the Koran to locals on Oxford’s high street and has been in the UK multiple times despite having called for homosexuals to be executed, and being under investigation by German authorities.
Foreign Minister Kurz expressed disbelief after the German raids as to why the organization was still allowed to operate in Austria. As far back as the summer Kurz has proposed to end the distribution of the Koran as part of the Integration Act which he supports. He revealed this week that the act, which would also ban the full face Islamic veil known as the burqa or niqab, has been consistently blocked by the Socialist Party.
A separate but similar Koran distribution campaign in Austria was linked to Mirsad Omerovic, who is said to have recruited two young girls, 17-year-old Samra Kesinovic and 15-year-old Sabina Selimovic who fled Austria in 2014 to Syria where they joined the Islamic State terror group.
While experts acknowledge that many of the Koran distribution stalls are fronts for radical Islamic recruitment, some argue that banning them will simply allow the radicals to play the victim and insist that the west is persecuting Muslims, but others like Ahmad Mansour say there may be no alternative and he claims intervention may actually prevent the formation of jihadi networks.