Has Austria Banned Muslims From Participating In Politics? Not Really

Austrian lawmakers did attempt to curb "political Islam" with a controversial bill, but the plan was thwarted following widespread criticism.

Facebook posts circulating in Sri Lanka claim Austria has banned Muslims from engaging in politics. This is misleading; Austrian lawmakers did attempt to curb "political Islam" with a controversial bill, but the plan was thwarted following widespread criticism.

The claim was published on Facebook here on December 30, 2020. The post has been shared more than 600 times.

The Sinhala-language text superimposed on the image reads:

"Austria strengthens laws against Muslims
"Cannot engage in politics
"Lifetime imprisonment for those who encourage terrorism and citizenship annulled.
"Government tells peaceful Muslims to not fear"


Screenshot of the Facebook post captured on January 03, 2021.

The image was also shared on Facebook here, here and here.

The claim, however, is misleading.

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Following a deadly attack by a gunman in Vienna in November 2020, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's government pledged a controversial bill to curb "political Islam".

The proposal included introducing preventive detention for people convicted of terror offences, stripping dual citizens convicted of terrorism offences of their Austrian citizenship and in some cases monitoring people with an electronic ankle bracelet or a wristband after their release from prison.

Even if people had served their sentences for terror offences, but were not yet seen as being completely deradicalised, "we will make it possible to lock those people up in order to protect the public," Kurz said at a news conference in November 2020.

Kurz also said the government planned to simplify the process of shutting down associations or mosques deemed to play a role in radicalisation and enable the public to report potential jihadist activities on an online platform. The proposals also included creating a central register of imams.

However, the bill did not propose banning Muslims from engaging in politics.

Following backlash from Muslim communities, the bill was revised in December 2020 to replaced the term "political Islam" with "religiously motivated extremism" .

The new draft law is due to be examined.

Updated On: 2021-01-13T19:40:58+05:30
Claim Review :   Austria has banned Muslims from participating in politics.
Claimed By :  Facebook posts
Fact Check :  False
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