Our Austrian correspondent ESW sends this report on last week’s citizens’ protest against the building of a huge new mosque in Vienna.
Citizens Protest Brigittenau Mosque
There are currently three hotspots regarding mosques (including the works such as minarets): One is located in the provincial capital of Linz, about 120 miles west of Vienna. Another mosque is planned in Bad Vöslau, a small town south of Vienna. The hottest spot, however, is located in Vienna, in the district of Brigittenau, a district with one of the highest percentage of immigrants (read Muslims) in Austria.
The mosque in question already exists. It was built in 1996 to cater to 250 worshipers and is run by ATIB, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria. According to ATIB’s website, its members are Turks, Austrians of Turkish descent, and Muslims. ATIB’s purpose is, of course, intercultural dialogue as well as assistance in integration matters. Its principles sound even better: they are based on equality among all humans and racial and sexual non-discrimination. They obviously do not elaborate.
ATIB has been planning the massive enlargement of this mosque for the past decade. These plans include the erection of a larger mosque with an area of 1,500 square meters and a capacity of 1,000 worshippers, a Turkish supermarket (why Turkish? An Austrian supermarket isn’t good enough?), a kindergarten, seminar rooms, as well as apartments. These plans go far beyond the argument of “free religious practice” in order to build a large mosque. The area surrounding the mosque is bound to become a pilgrimage center. The already unbearable effects of this cultural center include noise, exhaust pollution, and a lack of parking. The organizers of the civil resistance group are demanding the shutdown of this Islamic center and its moving to a suitable location outside residential areas.
In the late 1990’s local (including socialist) politicians strongly objected to the proposed center as it violates all objectives of urban development. Such violations include:
- Densely constructed residential areas
- Areas with reduced traffic
- Reduced quality of living
- And predicted conflicts and tension between religious community and citizens
Now, in 2008, all promises are forgotten and broken by the socialist politicians. The socialists hold the majority in the district parliament. The civil resistance group adheres to the practice of free religious practice, but if an attempt to live side by side peacefully fails, integration is considered an invasion; if an offer for participation results in ATIB’s takeover, tolerance must end for reasons of self-defense. They have repeatedly offered a hand to their Muslim neighbors, yet had to learn that the Muslims had not only taken the hand, but the whole arm.
The group took to the streets, organizing a demonstration to protest ATIB’s plans to enlarge the mosque. The 1,000 protestors were summarily denounced as “racist” and “Nazis”. Ms. Yilmaz, a headscarf-wearing socialist member of the Vienna city council, called the men and women demonstrating against the construction of the ATIB mosque, “a mob planning to burn down mosques”.
ATIB argues that ATIB has the right to build mosques, and it will do so whatever happens. “We will build this mosque no matter what!”
Last Thursday, 200 worried citizens attended a public meeting in order to learn about Islam and its dangers. Christian Zeitz, chairman of the recently founded “Mission Europa”, spoke about Islam, its historical background, its claims, the dangers. He argued that mosques discourage integration; they cannot be compared to Christian churches. A mosque’s functions include providing schooling and social activities, around the clock!
The Turkish-born primary school teacher of Kurdish descent, Sedat Pero, gave a passionate speech about the true goals of ATIB and its cronies. Sedat has lived in Austria for the past ten years, speaks impeccable German, and teaches at a primary school in Brigittenau. This man is true gold! What a brave man! He needs police protection soon. Here’s what he said:
Two issues have so far been ignored (by politicians and citizens alike) which should have been discussed on a critical level and in a proper language: Integration and Islam in Austria. For many years we believed everything is all right in Austria.
Integration has failed!
My questions are therefore:
- Why do people from other countries want to build so many mosques in Austria?
- What is behind all this?
- Who is behind all this?
There are more than 260 mosques and cultural clubs and unions in Austria. Regarding mosques and Islam in Austria, Pero says, we have to talk about a slowly rising, highly political Islam and not about freedom of religion.
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The problem is not noise pollution but political Islam slowly and systematically creeping into Europe with the help of the continent’s laws on religious freedom.
Turkish Islam exclusively serves the proliferation of Turkish nationalism and the backward Turkish political system. Yesterday it was Telfs (a province of Tyrol), today it is Brigittenau and Cologne. And it’s always the people from Turkey who are the problem.
Turkey is behind most of the mosque-building in Europe. It’s systematic. Let me clarify this: it is not the Islamist parties that are backing this; it’s the Turkish system. Secular and Islamist parties, there’s no difference in reality. Just ask those people building the mosques what they think about the Armenian genocide. They will all tell you that it’s an international lie. Even the parties on the left in parliament will tell you that.
We have to get to know this mentality. Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says: “Don’t assimilate, assimilation is the greatest crime.” But in saying this, Erdogan is the biggest criminal. Let’s look at minorities in Turkey. Ethnic minorities are made Turkish, religious minorities are Islamized. There are 20 million Alevites in Turkey. Alevites are not legally recognized in Turkey. If one asks Turkish politicians why there are no houses of worship for Alevites, the answer is, “We are building plenty of mosques. Let them go to mosques.”
Turkey sees its citizens as soldiers in order to spread its ideology. ATIB’s religious imams are employees of the Turkish embassy. Does an ambassador’s assignment include the organization of people’s ideologies? Can we consider [Turkey] a state or an underground organization? These Turkish imams are sent to Europe and are close to the Turkish state. Sermons are routinely sent to Europe by fax or e-mail. What are these imams preaching? “Our Turkish identity must not be lost, and our religious feelings must be deepened.”
And what else??? Perhaps they should also talk about basic human rights, offer young people perspectives for their future, tell them about protecting the environment. Perhaps they should also talk about decent education. I am a teacher. Some of my students attend Islamic education classes in the afternoon. When I look at these children I sometimes get the feeling they have just returned from the jungle! Some of my students say, “Austrians are pagans and godless.” This is not the children speaking; it’s the mentality.
People are held hostage by the Turkish system. It makes them stupid, both in Turkey and abroad.
But Turkey wants to build even more mosques! Here are some statistics:
There are 77,000 mosques in Turkey. 1,200 are in the process of construction. There are 67,000 schools, 1,220 hospitals, one hospital for 60,000 people!
Mosques are constructed in Alevite villages, but no one goes there. But they are being built! There are 15 million people below the poverty line, but mosques are being built.
There are many other sides to a mosque:
Mosques put social pressure on individuals. If a young girl throws her hijab into the wind, she is called a whore, if not worse. This is the Middle Ages!
Those who build mosques will never be satisfied, they will always want more. Sometime in the future they will say, “Let’s put up a statue of Atatürk in Brigittenau, and let’s put up a sign on Kahlenberg [which is where the battle of Vienna in 1683 took place] saying “I’m proud to be a Turk”.
The way mosques are organized from and by the Turkish state is a barrier to successful integration and serves as the basis for future social conflicts. People who have no background in democracy cannot adapt to a democracy.
I cannot provide solutions. I can only say one thing: Imams must be trained in Austria according to European values. Mosques must be used as prayer rooms only.
Keep your hands off Austria! It’s the Austrians’ country!