Turkish President Erdoğan slams Austria’s controversial Islam law


(Daily News) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly criticized Austria on Feb. 28 for approving a controversial bill that revises the status of Muslims in the European country.

“On the one hand you tell about the EU acquis, but on the other hand you take steps which totally oppose the EU acquis,” Erdoğan said at a meeting in Istanbul before his departure to Saudi Arabia for an official visit.

According to the Europa portal, the community acquis or acquis is “the body of common rights and obligations which bind all the member states together within the European Union… Applicant countries have to accept the Community acquis before they can join the Union.”

The Austrian Parliament passed a law on Feb. 25, stirring a debate.

The updated “Law on Islam,” which was prepared by the coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Party, aims to regulate how Islam is managed inside the country, and includes provisions requiring imams to be able to speak German, standardizing the Quran in the German language, and banning Islamic organizations from receiving foreign funding.

Turkey will make every effort to protect Muslims in Austria, especially those of Turkish descent, from being harmed due to a controversial recently approved bill regulating Islam in the country, Turkey’s EU minister said on Feb. 26.

“We cannot accept any harm to Muslims because of this law and we will make every effort to prevent such harm,” Minister Volkan Bozkır told Anadolu Agency during a visit to Finland’s capital, Helsinki.

The president also referred to the recent incidents of Islamophobia and biases against Muslims in the West, especially Europe, “The incidents are shifting to a different ground. We have to stop these biases.”

Islam has been an official religion in Austria since 1912.

The Islam law, known as “Islam Gesetz,” was introduced by Austria’s last emperor, Franz Josef, after the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina.