Austrian Catholic Archbishop Christoph Schönborn has criticized the government’s digital “map of Islam”, which has sparked controversy in the country, and police have confiscated warning signs posted by a nationalist movement referring to what it called “political Islam”.
Cardinal Schoenberg said – in a statement on Friday – that the “map of Islam” sparked controversy in Austrian public opinion, wondering why this digital map contained the Islamic community alone.
Last May, Integration Minister Susan Rapp released a digital map called the “National Map of Islam”, which includes a list of the names and locations of more than 620 mosques, Muslim associations, and Muslim officials.
He stressed that the penal laws against potential extremist and terrorist entities within the political and religious institutions are sufficient in the country, noting the possibility of resolving complex issues through dialogue.
And last Thursday, the controversial digital map stopped working in Austria, due to a wave of widespread criticism from various circles against the authorities.
And Islamic groups criticized the Austrian government last month, following the launch of the website prepared by the “Documentation Center for Political Islam”, which includes detailed information on Islamic institutions.
After the map work was launched on May 27, extremist right-wing groups hung banners bearing anti-Islam statements on many mosques.
For its part, the University of Vienna – whose name was initially associated with the design of the map – requested that its logo be removed immediately.
On the other hand, Austria’s conservative chancellor Sebastian Kurz backed conservative integration minister Susan Raab, who emphasized the need to expose “ideologies” that question “the values of liberal democracy”. Since then, the minister has been subjected to threats.
For its part, the Green Party repudiated the initiative, while Turkey and the Council of Europe called for its withdrawal.
And an Islamic association announced that it is preparing to file a lawsuit against the backdrop of publishing several personal addresses on the Internet, which puts some Muslims at risk, according to it.
The police confiscated several plates referring to the map, which were put up by a nationalist movement in Vienna and in a town in Lower Austria (east). The plaques read: “Attention! Political Islam is near you.”