Austria: Strache to demonstrate against mosque

Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache has vowed to take part in protests against the planned extension of a mosque, warning it will spread “religious indoctrination”.

Strache said yesterday (Weds) he would participate in a demonstration against the extension of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Vienna-Brigittenau, adding: “This (Islamic) Centre (on Dammstraße) is inappropriate in such a densely-populated area. The centre will have programmes of religious indoctrination.”

Hannelore Schuster, a spokeswoman for Citizens’ Initiative, which is organising the anti-mosque demonstration, said: “We do not oppose Islam but are against further construction (to extend this centre). I cannot forbid anyone to be at our side. It is appropriate for other parties to consider the issue.”

Social Democrat (SPÖ) district chief Hannes Derfler said: “It is typical of the FPÖ to condemn all members of a religious group.” The Greens’ David Ellensohn added: “Strache is again trying to get radical right-wingers involved and offending Brigittenau’s residents.”

City officials have already authorised the construction.

Strache, who participated in an anti-mosque demonstration last September, has regularly claimed that Muslims want to create a parallel society in Austria. The FPÖ leader is expected to give priority to that issue and the alleged dangers posed by immigrants in general during the run-up to the Vienna election to be held next year 2010.

Austria Times, 16 April 2009