Austrian FM defends ban on foreign funding of mosques, imams

AP News
Posted: Feb 26, 2015 4:47 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Austria's foreign minister is defending his country's revisions to a century-old law on Islam, which increase many protections for Muslims but also ban foreign funding for mosques and imams.

Sebastian Kurz told Germany's Bild newspaper Thursday that lawmakers didn't want foreign countries exerting political influence.

He says "I'd think it would also be strange if the German chancellor were to send pastors to us who were employees of the German government."

The measure passed Wednesday updates a 1912 law that made Islam an official religion in Austria.

Among other measures, the Austria Press Agency reports that the law enshrines the right for Muslims to have their own chaplains in the military, courts, hospitals and elsewhere; have male children circumcised; and practice the ritual halal slaughter of animals for food.