Austria to close Saudi school with alleged anti-Semetic inclinations

Austrian government sets to toughen regulation on funding by Muslim organizations, hopes to keep schools free of jihadi influence and recruitment.

December 15, 2014 16:31
1 minute read.
Palais Vienna

Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria.. (photo credit: MICHAEL WILNER)

(Reuters) - Austria is to close a Saudi school in Vienna for failing to provide the names of its teachers and director and is also looking into allegations that it used anti-Semitic books, Vienna's school board said on Monday.

Austria's government wants to push ahead with passing a law which prohibits foreign funding for Muslim organizations and would make standardized German-language versions of the Koran mandatory.

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The law, which the government says is aimed at preventing Austrian organizations from turning into recruiting grounds for jihadis, applies to institutions such as mosques rather than schools.

But it set off a heated debate on the role of other Islamic organizations in Austria, where concerns about jihadist violence have helped the FPO, a party critical of Islam, attract a quarter of votes, according to opinion polls.

The Vienna Board of Education decided to revoke the Saudi School Vienna's right to operate by the end of the school year next summer after it ignored a Dec. 1 deadline to name its teaching staff, a rule all private schools have to comply with, a spokesman said.

The school, which has 150 students and teaches in Arabic, has four weeks to appeal the shut-down and declined to comment on the decision.

The board, which says the school is funded by Saudi Arabia, has also asked it to provide official translations of texts after media reports alleged the school taught anti-Semitic content. The school declined to comment.

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