“The circle of people possibly affected by these measures – the pool that we’re talking about – comprises around 60 imams,” said Interior Minister Herbert Kickl of the Freedom Party (FPÖ), the partner in Austria‘s coalition government.
Kickl was referring to imams with alleged links to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organisation, a branch of Turkey‘s religious affairs agency Diyanet.
The interior minister underlined that the government suspects them of contravening a ban on foreign funding of religious office holders.
The ministry informed that 40 of them had an active application for extending their residency and that a number of these had already been referred to immigration authorities, where a process for expelling them was underway.
Once family members were taken into account, a total 150 people were under procedure of losing their right to residence, Kickl told a Vienna press conference.