Austria has called upon the European Union to adopt the registration of imams, the worship leaders of Mosques in Muslim communities, since its' adoptation of the same policy.
Austria has adopted an obligatory registration of all imams in the country since the beginning of 2021, aimed at reducing terrorism after a November terror attack in Vienna, DW reported.
The mandate was one of several new measures Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's government adopted after a November 2 terror attack in Vienna. Four civilians were killed and 23 injured after a 20-year-old gunman opened fire in the center of the Austrian capital.
Why is Austria calling for EU imam registration?
In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt published Saturday, Austria's Minister for European Affairs Karoline Edtstadler said Imam registration was key for "the fight against political Islam."
"Most imams move through many EU countries, so the security authorities need to know who is preaching what in which mosque at any given time," Edtstadler, a member of Kurz's conservative Austrian People's Party, told the newspaper.
She also believes EU funds should be "so strictly controlled in the future that they do not go to organizations and associations that advocate Islamist and anti-Semitic positions." A ban on foreign financing for mosques, which is already in place in Austria, is also conceivable, she said.
To fight terrorism, Edstadler would like to see "further improvements in cooperation and data exchange between the judicial and security authorities of the [EU] member states."
EU interior ministers have declared a new "war on terrorism" after the Vienna attack and similar atrocities in Paris and Nice in France.
The registration of Imams, which the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGÖ) has been tasked with maintaining, is one of a host of measures Austria has adopted in the wake of the Vienna attack.
The Austrian government did stop short of an explicit ban on "political Islam," or religiously motivated political extremism.
Kurz's administration also wants to revoke the Austrian passports of convicted terrorists if they possess other citizenships, but a draft law to that end is not expected until later this year.