The Islam Act — A Black Day for Austria

The long-anticipated revision of the 1912 Islam Law was passed by the Austrian parliament late last month. The new act was intended to subject Islam to the same scrutiny directed at other religious organizations, but it is unlikely to accomplish its ostensible purpose.

The following article by Christian Zeitz reviewing the likely effects (or non-effects) of the new Islam Law was published on February 26 by Politically Incorrect. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

The Islam Act — A Black Day for Austria

Yesterday, after long discussions, the new Islam Act was passed in the Austrian National Assembly. The new act is a revision of a law from 1912 and was intended to be a great advance. What resulted is somewhere between half-baked and counterproductive. It misses the central point and is de facto unenforceable. Christian Zeitz, academic director of the Institute for Applied Political Economy, was involved intensively beforehand with both the law and the material. If Austria had enacted his insights, they would at least be one step further along.

But neither the expertly qualified critics nor the much publicized “broad base” had a say. The entire parliamentary opposition — albeit for various reasons — voted against it. And so what was decided was neither helpful nor beneficial, or, as Christian Zeitz foresaw:

The Islam Act — Project of a Constitutional Attempt to Deal with Islam — Is at the Point of Collapse

On January 13th, the government template for the Islam Act was the object of vigorous debate in the constitutional committee of the National Assembly. In the framework of hearing the testimony of experts, specialists familiar with the subject matter worked out the weaknesses of the draft law that the government was hoping to have rubber-stamped by the entire chamber. I myself concentrated on the formal defects of this legislative approach and on the fact that it completely ignores the reality of Islam and its representative institutions in Austria. With the implementation of this law, the Islamic organizations would receive even more privileges. Even more significant: with this law, the rampant, creeping Islamization of our land will be protected against any national supervision or control and against any timely attempt to prevent a progressive radicalization in government agencies. Neither the Minister of Culture, Josef Ostermayer, nor his staff, were able to counter these doubts.

What happened? What does the background of this awkward matter look like? Why is this legal matter of such great relevance for the social and political situation in our country? Where does it go from here?

In 1912, four years after Bosnia-Herzegovina had been incorporated among the legal entities of the Danube monarchy, the Emperor signed a law in Austria that was a worldwide first, in which the “followers of Islam” were legalized as a recognized religious community. For the hundred-year jubilee in 2012, a “time-appropriate” Islam Act was foreseen, which was to have portrayed the actual situation in “multi-religious Austria.” At first, extended negotiations with the IGGiÖ, which sought an expansion of its rights (its own university faculties, state-compensated spiritual directors in the army, Islamic ministry in hospitals and prisons, Islamic cemeteries, Islamic provisioning in public facilities with Islam-compatible “halal” foods) delayed the project. Also because of that delay, however, three of the most important requirements advanced by citizens for years as causing concern for the maintenance of secular, liberal order and religious peace in the land were accepted. They are:

1. The obligation to make public the articles of faith in the Islamic communities. Such an obligation is not only necessary to make possible the repeatedly invoked “inter-religious dialogue.” Even more, it is indispensable to being able to determine what elements of the “doctrine of Islam” are not compatible with the laws of Austria. Actually, the Law of 1912 already requires such a procedure. For there are certainly reasons to assume that substantial portions of especially the Islamic social and legal system (sharia) are not compatible with the laws of an enlightened constitutional state. It is a particular scandal that there are critics of Islam who have been convicted of “derogation of religious doctrines”, which doctrines, however, have not been revealed by anyone, anywhere.

2. The banning of the financing of Islamic religious enterprises (mosques, et alii) by foreign sources. This regulation would be especially important because the experience of recent decades, both in country and out, shows unmistakably that radicalization of Muslim communities frequently results from investment (“mosque-building”) and personal expenditures for religious officers (“imams”) by foreign institutions that are interested in bringing about a radical form of Islam. Saudi Arabia is especially active in this area, as is the Turkish religious authority with its Austrian branch ATIB (Avrupa Türk-Islam Birliği [Union of Turkish-Islamic Cultural Organizations in Europe]).

3. The necessary dissolution of mosque and prayer groups which have been established in a rampant, unmanageable process in recent years, and have overspread all of Austria with a dense net of 460 such institutions. The reality of the practice or pursuit of a religion in completely unaccounted-for organizations is incompatible with the idea of a legally recognized religious society which is responsible for its actions and its practitioners and therefore enjoys legal protection and privileges.

These three requirements were included in the ministerial draft for the new Islam Act which was published on October 2nd of last year. There was an instant storm of outrage from Muslim functionaries and their political and media protectors. The new Islam law would manifest a “general suspicion,” would “discriminate” against Muslims, and make Muslims “second-class citizens,” and therefore unworthy of constitutional protections and human rights.

The defects of the draft law disappeared in the propaganda storm produced by Islamic functionaries, who had one more opportunity to demonstrate their high dudgeon at being insulted and play once more the role of victim. And this assures that the requirements mentioned will not be enacted and/or enforceable, and thus the same, unsatisfactory and dangerous make-up of Islam in Austria remains not only untouchable, but totally legally secured and therefore preserved forever. The actual make-up of Islam is a bizarre twofold enterprise: the legally recognized IGGiÖ (Islamic Community in Austria) manages state-financed Islamic religious education and political public works, for which it receives pubic donations, meanwhile not being responsible for one single mosque or religious community. The 460 Islamic organizations, on the other hand, manage mosques, sponsor Friday sermons and generally take care of the practice of the Islamic faith, by serving Muslims at the grassroots level, thus defining everyday Islam in the country.

The draft law is snarled up by connecting the dissolubility of the organizations on the basis of their “doctrine” to that of a legally recognized religious society. There is not sufficient space here for a detailed analysis of this thorny matter and a demonstration of the consequent effects of the faulty legislative construct. This was done in the course of a detailed presentation by the Wiener Akademikerbund. The fact is that the organizations, according to this law, cannot be dissolved. This is tragic, since the requirements of “transparency” and “foreign financing” cannot be applied to the sponsors of the mosques and Islamic religious enterprises.

This problem, which seems to be merely an academic-juridical one, is of eminent significance for social co-existence, maintenance of our own culture and religious peace in the land. It affords a glance into the daily Islam-relevant reporting of the media, in just recent days. Three relevant examples:

In an interview conducted by the magazine PROFILE, with Dr. Fuat Sanac, president of IGGiÖ (Number 3 2015, of January 12, 2015), he denies the existence of the death penalty for blasphemy in Islamic states as well as the endorsement of suicide attacks by the highly influential Islamic legal scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. “Islam is not political.” “Islamic scholars must never cease to emphasize that the actions of terrorists are absolutely un-Islamic.” And then a much-quoted mantra of all Islam sympathizers: “Killing a single person, according to the Koran, is the same as killing all of humanity.”

It is worthwhile to quote the appropriate verse from the Koran: “Therefore we have commanded the children of Israel that anyone who kills a person other than for vengeance or if he [the person killed] has committed some mischief here on earth, then it is as if he [the killer] had killed all of humanity…” (Sura 5:32) Fuat Sanac suppressed the important second part of the verse. This, in fact, is one of the bases for Islamic blood revenge/right of vengeance. This becomes specific just one verse later where the consequences of the “mischief on this earth” are foreseen: “But the reward of those who rise up against Allah and strive only to bring ruin upon the earth shall be that they are killed or crucified or have their hands and feet chopped off on opposite sides, or that they shall be expelled from the land.” (5:33) This is not the place to deal with the question of whether the methods of IS in Iraq are different in any detail from this Koranic imperative. The question to ask is, why Sanac so consistently (and repeatedly) misrepresents the details of his faith. And exactly that is the point.

How is it possible to advance a beneficial co-existence, let alone a respectful interchange, with representatives of a religious community which consistently refuses to offer any vaguely true information about its beliefs, and on the contrary, replies to any serious reappraisal with drop-dead arguments. The implementation of “disclosure of the elements of faith” would be an unconditional prerequisite for creation of a common base for Muslims and non-Muslims in a community of Austrian values.

In the January 19th 2015 issue of KURIER, Muslim functionaries are upset about Minister Kurz’s insistence on oversight of activities in Islamic religious enterprises. The omnipresent press representative of the IGGiÖ, Carla Amina Baghajati, speaks of “an intervention in the internal affairs of recognized religious societies.” This is yet another archetypical demonstration of the confusion in the Islam Act! To what recognized religious society does Baghajati refer? As already noted, the IGGiÖ does not manage one single mosque. NONE of the managing organizations of Islamic religious enterprises are recognized religious societies, and they have nothing to do with IGGiÖ, in that they neither operate under its auspices nor are (able to be) internally supervised — and this completely regardless of whether they are “aid organizations” or not. President Sanac himself stated this unambiguously in August, 2014. So the IGGiÖ at will either assumes the role of spokesman and protector of all of Islam in Austria or, when necessary, distances itself from individual institutions that are not in good odor.

This second quotation from the media is firm evidence of the necessity of dissolving the rank proliferation of mosque organizations, as is indeed suggested but not made possible in the draft Islam law. The above example illustrates why this requirement is of such political importance. One pillar of a functional and just religious law is the equality of coverage of rights and duties as well as responsibility and supervision, by which a legally recognized and privileged religious society should be characterized. The shabby hare-and-tortoise game between religious society and proliferating organizations undermines this pillar and must, in the long run, damage or destroy any trust between the Muslim community and the majority society.

So it is of the utmost importance not only in the interests of the indigenous Austrians, but of at least the integration-ready Muslims, that the requirements mentioned here be made legally actionable and be politically enacted by a properly established Islam Act. Integration-ready Muslims in Austria have a right to be informed clearly by the state community they wish to belong to, what elements of the Islamic doctrine cannot be experienced and carried out here. Indeed, we do not just have a “general suspicion” but the general knowledge that sharia in its entirety is not compatible with the law, customs and moral concepts of Austria (see, e.g., right of revenge, bodily punishments, inequality of women, polygamy and discrimination against “infidels). It is an expression of the dishonesty and failure of the political elite to have consistently suppressed this obvious truth until this day.

So it is no wonder that the Muslim functionaries of the next generation — after no resistance to implementation of the Islamic legal concepts — are becoming increasingly more offensive in their demands. The third media quotation shows this vividly. In the STANDARD-KOMMENTAR of January 23rd, the front woman of the MJÔ (Muslim Youth of Austria), Dudu Kücükgöl, denounces the “daily, Islam-hostile exaggerations of populist political discourse,” the “public paranoia,” the “legally prescribed discrimination” and the effect of “crude Islamophobic think tanks.” She demands “not just equality,” but “attention from the state,” which no doubt means this is not just a question of “religious freedom” but of the realization of political-Islamic demands. And in this sense, it is about the maintenance and buildup of the necessary instruments.

As an exemplar of the academically educated female Muslim in Austria, Kücükgöl sees already that the new Islam Act would protect these instruments, and that she is only deploying the old saw about the “scandalous draft for a new Islam Act” as a calculated distraction. She knows very well that the Islam Act will go aground on its own goal of “dissolution of the organizations,” if only their exponents employ the proper “wording” in reference to their self-understanding. So Kücükgöl formulates confidently and unerringly: “As an accompanying note — the MJÔ is a youth group and not a religious organization. It receives only that support that similar Austrian youth organizations receive. Therefore it is not subject to the planned law.” Kücükgöl is already preparing for the passage of the law.

But the Austrian federal government will not see what Kücükgöl has recognized. The new Islam Act in its present form is unenforceable, will have no effect and is, at best, intended as a sedative for a public that has become extraordinarily insecure.

In conclusion, for the Wiener Akademikerbund, which has long advocated a constructive religious law, the challenge is as follows. A correction of the religious law is necessary, with the goal of restricting the rampant growth of mosques, insuring the responsibility of Islamic religious societies for the beliefs they represent, and preventing the increase of radical influence on the Islamic scene in Austria through foreign financing. From a legal-technical perspective, there would be no problem in accomplishing this, if the necessary political will can be found, and there is still time to bring the capacities of all constructive powers to bear. The Austrian federal government must be challenged not to push such important material through parliament as a prestige project. A good Islam law is one of the absolute last chances to preserve a permanent religious peace in Austria.

— Christian Zeitz of the Wiener Akademikerbund

Previous posts about the Islam Law in Austria:

2015   Feb   9   After 100 Years, a New Islam Law for Austria: Part 1
        10   After 100 Years, a New Islam Law for Austria: Part 2
        11   After 100 Years, a New Islam Law for Austria: Part 3
        12   After 100 Years, a New Islam Law for Austria: Part 4
        24   “It is Simply Impossible to Arrest the Penetrative Proliferating Spread of Islam”

17 thoughts on “The Islam Act — A Black Day for Austria

  1. Poetry of Oscar Wilde

    Christ, dost Thou live indeed? or are Thy bones
    Still straitened in their rock-hewn sepulchre?
    And was Thy Rising only dreamed by her
    Whose love of Thee for all her sin atones?
    For here the air is horrid with men’s groans,
    The priests who call upon Thy name are slain,
    Dost Thou not hear the bitter wail of pain
    From those whose children lie upon the stones?
    Come down, O Son of God! incestuous gloom
    Curtains the land, and through the starless night
    Over Thy Cross a Crescent moon I see!
    If Thou in very truth didst burst the tomb
    Come down, O Son of Man! and show Thy might
    Lest Mahomet be crowned instead of Thee!

    * * *
    ———————————– My musings ———————
    So, Europe, it is etched on your brow
    Not to learn a lesson of when and how
    To fight your enemies of yesterday and of now

    You have knowledge but in wisdom zero
    Islam and muslims and muhamet are your hero
    You think them good, enriching and benign
    Whip the indigenous people, and everything will be fine

    Europe, Be servile and give them halal meat
    Give them fat welfare checks and kiss their feet
    Run away quickly when chasing you in retreat
    Just make sure from fear you don’t soil your car seat

    You forsook God’s lamb
    Without hesitation or qualm
    You adopted a highwayman and islam


    Punished you will be for wallowing in your messing
    Lost, confused cursed and left without blessing
    You are feverish, sick and ailing
    Your days are numbered you lost your sailing

    Any faith reforming self and forbids brawl
    Except one whose members behead and maul
    Judeo-Christianity crowns them all
    Regarding peace and playing fair ball
    Content on Earth until we hear the Creator’s call

  2. It appears to me that there is a lot of Turkish, Saudi and Qatari money slushing around the Austrian corridors of power.

  3. For me, there is a noteworthy similarity between this situation and our negotiations with Iran.

    In Austria, experts in law and students of Islam are given the back of the hand by a red-green government eager to push through a flawed law, and in the US–with military and political experts screaming in his ears–the president is hell-bent on his treaty with Iran.

    In both countries, there are those who suspect that, for the sake of legacy, prestige or the momentary advantage of calming their own citizens and/or other players, the government is ignoring real black holes in the proposed action. And there are no doubt a few who have darker suspicions, that these governments are willingly and consciously slipping into a betrayal of their fellow citizens, because they actually see this as the future. In other words, the ANSCHLUSS and AMERICAN BETRAYAL live on in altered form.

  4. The whole legal enterprise of establishing a state authority over religion sticks in the craw of Americans, used to an absolute stricture against state interference with religious practice. The clumsy efforts of the Australian government to establish, essentially, state-approved religions is an illustration of the correctness of the American approach.

    Here’s the situation. The Muslims in Austria are too obviously detrimental to the existence of a free state based on individual liberties and representative government…not that individual liberties seem to be valued that much. The government, with the aid of experts such as Christian Zeitz, tried to mold Islam into an acceptable form, only to be headed off by the political pressures from ostensibly “moderate” Islamic political organizations.

    The whole enterprise is unworkable anyway. Whatever the law becomes, individual Muslim groups will attain the status of the house churches in China, daring practitioners of a pure religion, persecuted by government for their independence and values.

    The problem is, any organized group has the ability to be hugely influential in a representative government. Muslims cause a problem because their core values are so incompatible with the values of a civilized country. It is obviously not in the interest of observant Muslims to have Islamic values publicized and made official: such government-approved values will either be obviously unacceptable in the light of real publicity, or will not be Islamic.

    I think at the bottom, people have a deep reluctance to admit that there are conspiratorial groups plotting to systematically co-opt the government. This reluctance appeared when the communists were, in fact, systematically infiltrating government agencies, and continues now with Muslim Brotherhood operatives systematically infiltrating the White House, not to mention the financial arm of the Republican Party.

    There’s an added complication, of course, with the Saudis, a prime financier of expansionists Islam, declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

    I think the Austrians and Europeans in general would do well to back off from trying to regulate religious teachings, and focus instead on general measures that can be applied across the board. These measures would include:
    1) absolute prohibition on foreign money for education, broadcasting, or political activity. The close regulation that, in my opinion, is inappropriate for religious creeds, is perfectly suitable for charitable activity;
    2) strict application of zoning and property-use regulations;
    3) strict regulation of street apparel, especially emulating the French ban on identity-hiding clothes;
    4) absolute prohibition of state welfare for any but truly disabled people.

  5. Let’s hope the sheeple wake up soon enough so that they are still exist in large enough numbers in the population to make a difference. Absent that or some deus ex machina (a new, cheap source of energy?), I fear there will be dark days ahead.

  6. “Also because of that delay, however, three of the most important requirements advanced by citizens for years as causing concern for the maintenance of secular, liberal order and religious peace in the land were accepted. ”

    I’m confused. These three requirements (publication of the tenets of Islam; prohibition of foreign financing; dissolution of mosques not approved by the government) “were accepted.” So these requirements became part of the new law? But the rest of this essay seems to be saying the opposite.

    The original text is “Deshalb gelang es aber auch, drei der wichtigsten Forderungen aufzunehmen … Diese sind: 1. … 2. … 3. …” What does “aufnehmen” mean in this context? Does it mean “accept [these requirement and make them part of the new law], or does it mean “take up [these requirement for discussion of whether they should be part of the new law]”?

    • I agree with Mark and am also confused. If the three most important concerns were accepted isn’t that a good thing?

  7. “How is it possible to advance a beneficial co-existence, let alone a respectful interchange, with representatives of a religious community which consistently refuses to offer any vaguely true information about its beliefs, and on the contrary, replies to any serious reappraisal with drop-dead arguments.”

    Sorry to be so persnickety, but what is a “drop-dead argument (Todschlargument)”? If asked without any context, I would answer that a drop-dead argument is an argument that is so cogent and unanswerable that anyone would be forced to agree with it. Evidence:
    But here a drop-dead argument seems to be an argument akin to:
    “Drop dead!”, he explained.

    • This didn’t confuse me. We call it the “shut up” argument here in the US.

    • A “Tot-schlag-argument” is an argument which cannot be countered with reason, and so the discussion is killed instantly, or “beaten dead” literally, like with a caveman’s club as the common imagery associated with this expression. Often this is accomplished by calling the racist or Nazi card for, let’s say, criticizing immigration policy. Can be ad-hominem style or something else from the standard toolbox (, as long as it’s meant to make clear no further resistance is accepted.

      • Thanks, K., for this information. And sorry for misspelling “Todschlagargument”. So an “I’ll strike you dead” argument,
        which might be called a kind of ,
        is not a kind of argument at all, but a kind of threat while refusing to offer a persuasive argument (e.g., saying “you’re a racist”).

        • The metaphor means that the immediate death of the discussion is the goal, it is not implied that this is to be accomplished by threatening the opponent himself. Anything that works, just take away all grounds on which the argument could continue in a meaningful way. E.g. a creationist saying “God wrote it, I believe it, that settles it” falls into the same category.
          No worries about misspelling, it’s a bit like the English there/they’re/their problem. Tod = death (noun), tot = dead (adjective). We ourselves get that wrong often enough.

  8. One simple rule might help here:

    If a particular country disallows foreign financing for organizations that perform religious conversion or promote changes to government (such as democracy), all other countries should disallow all financing from that country for the same purposes.

    For example, if nobody is allowed to support Christian (or any other) missionaries in Saudi Arabia, and free religious conversion is illegal in Saudi arabia, then Saudi Arabia should be universally banned from supporting any sort of religious mission anywhere in the world.

    Why do practically all western countries accept all these double standards and failures to reciprocate when it comes to things like human rights? As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t support freedom of religion or political dissent in your own country then you have no right to exploit freedom of religion or political dissent elsewhere, yet the idiot sheeple westerners consistently support this anti-western stupidity. It’s the same idiot mentality that believes that unilateral declaration of peace and refusal to react to aggression will prevent war.

    • Nimrod,
      ” For example, if nobody is allowed to support Christian (or any other) missionaries in Saudi Arabia, and free religious conversion is illegal in Saudi arabia, then Saudi Arabia should be universally banned from . . . ”

      If western “democracies” were that clever, principled, honest, and honorable, we would not have had such overwhelming tsunami of muslim/jihadis flooding our naively-ruled nations. There is something called greed, dishonesty, sellout, lack of principles. . . etc. A politician is ready to stoop to any level to get elected. That’s why there is staunch separation between Church and State, and its sublime lifting tenets. Thou shalt not steal, . . . etc. If Hitler had loved his neighbors he would not have devastated Europe. Politicians want no limit on their lies, deceit, calumny, to use against opposition. To bring the other party down. But there is no separation in the west between State and mosque. Why because visiting a mosque brings votes and nowadays muslims are the only power to make or break.
      How many times have we heard politicians say “islam is here to stay” when indigenous people were heard complaining about being oppressed by muslims.

      Have you ever heard a traitor visiting a church and saying Judeo-Christianity are here to stay.

      Western “democracies” are failed states: they are hesitant in every thing. They can’t take decisive decisions. why? The Opposition will throw dirt on the ruling party and pretend that he is doing that because that’s how democracy works. Not to give credit to the Ruling party, any law enacted will be opposed, watered down and rendered ineffective. Leaving the arena for muslims to dictate their own uncompromising whimsical desires, and are never opposed by anyone in the self-styled, democracies.

      These democracies are sick as was the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 20th century and was divided by France and Britain under the pretense mandate that they were too backward to rule themselves. That’s why Turkey supported and allied itself with Germany.

      Today Europe and the west are gravely sick. They can’t rules themselves. That’s why they are mandated by muslim countries. Every western minister and party, PM, Muslim run White House, . . . etc. have muslims superiors who tell, nay, order the ministers what to do.

    • Nimrod-

      You’ve really nailed it in this post. Why indeed do Western “leaders” consistently support this ongoing double-standard with regard to human rights and freedom of religion?

      I believe the initial cause is very simple. Western leaders have elevated power over principles, and they believe they can attain power by catering to organized voting blocs. They know very well the herd-like nature of the Ummah, and it it also obvious they are growing in number in the West.

  9. Mark and Babs: The text is a bit foggy in the way it explains things, but the crucial part comes after the statement that these three principles have been accepted. the next paragraph begins:
    “The defects of the draft law disappeared in the propaganda storm produced by Islamic functionaries, who had one more opportunity to demonstrate their high dudgeon at being insulted and play once more the role of victim. And this assures that the requirements mentioned will not be enacted and/or enforceable, and thus the same, unsatisfactory and dangerous make-up of Islam in Austria remains not only untouchable, but totally legally secured and therefore preserved forever.”
    In other words, the government has been or will be jawboned into removing or emasculating these items.

  10. Thank you K, for clarifying a phrase I did not translate crisply, thank you Babs for a phrase I will store away for later use, thank you Mark for Argumentum ad baculum–a Latin phrase I had no idea of. One reason I like to contribute at GoV is that it is a learning experience.

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