Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Austria and the No-Outside Influence Bill

An odd piece popped up from Austria today.  The Austrian parliament is discussing a new draft of a law.  The deal?  If you are Islamic and a cleric/scholar....your funding needs to be Austrian-generated.  Yeah, it'd basically cut off all foreign funds (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc).  The mosque, the utilities and heat for the facility, and the cost of supporting your cleric?  All would have to come from within Austria.

Naturally, this got folks a bit hyped up.

Somewhere in the range of 500,000 to 600,000 Muslims live in Austria (a total population of 8.4 million, so says Wiki).  

The slant on this deal is that Austria wants the scholars to have zero outside influence.  Added to the bill?  The cleric/scholar folks need to speak German.  This might be a curious thing to press across, and it'd likely force a fair number of the clerics to take additional language classes if they have to reach a certain level (I can only guess that it'd be mandated somewhere in the episode).

Passage of the bill?  There's a fair amount of enthusiasm for this, and I suspect it'll pass but meet up with some court challenge by various countries saying it's unfair.  As long as all religions are treated in the same'll stand in any Austrian court.  

Even if it passes.....some charity could set up a foundation in some European country, and just transfer the money to a couple of guys in Austria and make it appear like some friendly donation on their part of 100,000 Euro to some local mosque or the cleric in charge.  Money-laundering?  Oh my, yes.....with jail consequences and sentences of a couple of years for behavior like this.

It's a curious twist on operational themes.  Nothing within any church in Europe runs off thin-air.  Everything costs money.  Heat, electricity, and cleric housing.....all amount to something.  As for fairness? I generally dispense advice in motto is nothing in life is get used to it.    

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