Austria: Civil Law vs. Sharia Law

The Austrian government has unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the country’s century-old “Islam Law” that governs the legal status of Austria’s Muslim community.

The proposed revisions—which are aimed at cracking down on Islamic extremism in Austria—would regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran, among other changes.

The government says the modifications would give Muslims legal parity with other religious groups in Austria. But the leaders of Austria’s Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to “institutionalized Islamophobia.” Continue reading

New Debate on the Responsibility for War

BERLIN (Own report) – In the few months leading up to the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I, a new debate, over who was responsible for starting the war, is gaining momentum in Germany. As relevant publications – such as the bestseller, “The Sleepwalkers” by the historian Christopher Clark – show, “a shift in paradigm has taken place” in scholarship, according to a recent press article: “The German Empire was not ‘responsible’ for World War I.” The debate strongly contradicts the recognition that, even though Berlin did not bear it alone, it bore the primary responsibility for the bloody escalation of the 1914 July Crisis. This insight, which was derived particularly from the analyses of the historian Fritz Fischer in the 1960s, is now being massively contested. Historians are strongly criticizing remarks, such as those by Christopher Clark, who, working closely with government-affiliated academic institutions, is denying German responsibility for the war. According to Clark, “the Serbs” are supposedly a priori “the bad guys” of the pre war era, while he openly displays his preference for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The denial of Germany’s main culpability for the war is “balm on the soul of educated social sectors, grown more self-confident” at a time when Berlin’s political power is again on the rise. Continue reading