No More 'Unusual Buildings' in Austria? Far-Right Party Tries to Ban Mosque Construction
A far-right party in the Austrian state of Carinthia, led by the notorious right-wing politician Jörg Haider, is trying to ban the construction of mosques and minarets. They've presented a draft law designed to prohibit "unusual" buildings that don't fit in with traditional architecture.
The party of Austrian right-wing populist Jörg Haider is trying to get the construction of mosques banned.
Officially, the law is not aimed directly at mosques and minarets, but at "unusual" buildings that stand out "because of their unusual architecture or size (height)." In the future, a special commission will determine if an unusual construction project "blends in with the neighborhood's existing architecture." If not, it will be possible to block its construction.
BZÖ will need the support of the conservative Austrian People's Party if it is to get the draft law passed in the state government. That seems assured, however, as the People's Party had asked the state government last year to prepare a draft law to ban the construction of mosques and minarets. The Social Democrats and Greens, who are also in the state's unity government, have spoken out against the law.
Erwin Pröll, the governor of the state of Lower Austria, who belongs to the People's Party, recently described minarets as "alien" to Austrian culture in a television interview. Susanne Winter, a politician for the right-wing Freedom Party, which Haider used to belong to before splitting off to set up the BZÖ, called the Prophet Muhammad a "child molester" during a recent election campaign.
Meanwhile, in Germany, a planned mosque in Cologne has also been causing controversy. A right-wing citizens' initiative called Pro Cologne has been protesting its construction -- with the help of far-right politicians from Austria's Freedom Party.
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2008
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH