Austria shuts down mosques in wake of terror attack

Austrian authorities have closed down the Tewhid and Melit Ibrahim Mosques in Vienna, both frequented by Kujtim Fejzulai, who murdered four people in a terror attack in the city last week.

Integration Minister Susanne Raab and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced the closure of the Tewhid Mosque in Vienna and the Melit Ibrahim Association on Friday following a meeting with the president of Austria’s Islamic Faith Community, Ümit Vural, local media reported.

The decision came after a 20-year-old supporter of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group went on a deadly rampage in the Austrian capital on Monday night, killing four.

The gunman had frequented the mosque and the association, Raab said, saying the closure decision was made in the name of national security as the two institutions had been found not to hold a “positive attitude toward society and the state” as mandated in Austria’s so-called Islam Law.

But she stressed that the move should not be seen as an attack on Islam or Muslims. “The goal of terrorism is to drive a wedge into our society — between Muslims and non-Muslims,” she said.

At the same press conference, Nehammer acknowledged intelligence failures prior to the attack, saying that “intolerable mistakes were made."

On Friday, Nehammer said that Fejzulai had been in contact with suspects already under surveillance by the country’s main domestic intelligence agency, the Protection of the Constitution and Counter-Terrorism (LVT).

The head of the Vienna LVT has now been suspended while the investigation is underway, police chief Gerhard Pürstl said at the press conference.

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