Austria says to expel ‘several’ imams, shut 7 mosques

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A Muslim woman walks by a mosque at Islam Centre of Vienna on April 14, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (AFP)
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A community member tries to open the door of the Nizam-i Alem mosque in Vienna’s 10th district, on June 8, 2018 after it was closed as part of seven mosques that the Austrian government announced they would shut down. (AFP)
Updated 08 June 2018
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Austria says to expel ‘several’ imams, shut 7 mosques

  • Austria will expel “several” foreign-funded imams and shut seven mosques in a crackdown on “political Islam,”
  • The moves came after an investigation by the religious affairs authority into images which emerged in April of children in Turkish-backed mosques playing dead

VIENNA: Austria will expel “several” foreign-funded imams and shut seven mosques in a crackdown on “political Islam,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Friday.
Kurz said the moves came after an investigation by the religious affairs authority into images which emerged in April of children in Turkish-backed mosques playing dead and reenacting the World War I battle of Gallipoli.
“Parallel societies, political Islam and radicalization have no place in our country,” Kurz said.
The photos, published by the Falter weekly, showed the young boys in camouflage uniforms marching, saluting, waving Turkish flags and then playing dead.
Their “corpses” were then lined up and draped in the flags.
The mosque in question was run by the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organization, based in the German city of Cologne, and a branch of Turkey’s religious affairs agency Diyanet.
ATIB itself condemned the photos at the time, calling the “highly regrettable” event and said that “called off before it had even ended.”


More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

Updated 47 min 44 sec ago
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More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

DURBAN: At least 60 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have fled their homes after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides along South Africa’s eastern coast, authorities said on Wednesday.
Most of the deaths were in KwaZulu-Natal province. Flooding also killed at least three people in neighboring Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said.
The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban. Multiple dwellings collapsed in mudslides, said Robert McKenzie, a KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman.
Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday.
Victor da Silva, a resident of the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to evacuate before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
“On Monday, the water was just crazy. And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining,” Da Silva said. “And then an hour and a half later, everything poof (vanished) because the rain just hasn’t stopped.
Authorities in southern Tanzania ordered evacuations of residents from low-lying areas and the closure of schools and offices ahead of landfall of Tropical Cyclone Kenneth on neighboring Mozambique’s coast on Thursday.
“We’ve decided to evacuate all residents of valleys and other low-lying areas and we advise them to seek refuge at public spaces,” Mtwara regional commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa, told reporters.
Johan Fourie said he fled his home in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu-Natal, just before part of it collapsed.
“I nearly lost my life, and my neighbor, I believe, is in hospital,” Fourie told eNCA television.
The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not foresee the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said.
Some people were swept away by the water, he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday and was expected in the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” he said.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.