Austria shuts two mosques attended by Vienna attacker

Agence France-Presse . Vienna | Published: 00:19, Nov 07,2020


The Austrian government ordered the closure on Friday of two mosques in the capital Vienna frequented by the jihadist gunman who shot dead four people in the city centre earlier in the week.

The shooting on Monday was Austria’s first major attack in decades and its first blamed on a jihadist, identified as 20-year-old Kujtim Fejzulai, who was killed by police.

Integration minister Susanne Raab told a press conference that the government’s religious affairs office ‘was informed by the interior ministry that Monday’s attacker, since his release from prison, had repeatedly visited two Vienna mosques’.

The two mosques are in Vienna’s western suburbs, one called the Melit Ibrahim mosque in the Ottakring district and the other being the Tewhid mosque in the Meidling area.

The BVT domestic intelligence agency ‘told us that the visits to these mosques furthered the attacker’s radicalisation,’ Raab said.

Only one of the mosques was officially registered as such, Raab said.

A statement from the officially recognised Islamic Religious Community of Austria said one officially registered mosque was being shut because it had broken rules over ‘religious doctrine and its constitution’, as well as national legislation governing Islamic institutions.

Also on Friday the Vienna prosecutor’s department said that six of the 16 people detained since the attack have been released, with the rest remaining in custody as the probe into the attacker’s circle continues.

The suspected gunman, dual Austrian-Macedonian national Fejzulai, had previously been convicted for trying to join the Islamic State group in Syria.

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