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Austrian government rolls drastic measures to curb Islamic extremism


●Proposal includes closing down mosques, stripping citizenship, and life imprisonment for convicted terrorists

The government of Austria has come up with a wide range of anti-terrorism measures in the wake of a deadly attack in the capital, Vienna, last week.

The measures include keeping individuals convicted of “terror” offenses in a prison for life, digital tracking of freed convicted terrorists, and criminalising religiously motivated and politically extreme acts.

The government has closed a mosque and promises to shut more in a latest move to stop the spread of radical islamism in the country.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Wednesday that the government also plans to simplify the process of shutting down associations or mosques deemed to play a role in “radicalisation” and enable the public to report potential violent activities on an online platform. A central register of imams will also be created.

“In the fight against political Islam – the ideological basis behind it – we are going to create a criminal offense called ‘political Islam’ in order to be able to move against those who aren’t terrorists but are preparing the ground for it,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The planned measures, which will be brought before parliament in December for a vote, also call for preventive detention for people convicted of terror offences. Kurz said even if people have served their sentences for such crimes, but are not yet seen as being completely deradicalised, “we will make it possible to lock those people up in order to protect the public.”

In some cases, people who have just been released will be monitored with an electronic ankle bracelet or a wristband, Kurz added, without explaining exactly when this particular method would be used or when preventive detention would be applied.


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