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Austria to close seven mosques and expel dozens of imams

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Austria to close seven mosques and expel dozens of imams

Austria's right-wing government has announced it will shut down seven mosques and expel up to 40 imams.

It says it's "just the beginning" of a push against Islamist ideology and foreign funding of religious groups.

The coalition government came to power soon after Europe's migration crisis, partly by promising to prevent another influx and to clamp down on benefits for new immigrants and refugees.

When Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was the minister in charge of integration three years ago, he oversaw the passing of a tough "law on Islam."

It banned foreign funding of religious groups and created a duty for Muslim societies to have "a positive fundamental view towards state and society".

Out of 8.8 million people, Austria has roughly 600,000 Muslim inhabitants. Most are Turkish or have families of Turkish origin.

Last week data compiled by the Pew Research Center suggests many Europeans regard Islam as "fundamentally incompatible" with their country's culture and values.