Austria’s Catholic Archbishop Christoph Schönborn has criticized the country’s controversial digital “map of Islam”, warning of the dangers of producing a perception that makes a suspected religious community a potential suspect.
Cardinal Schönborn said in a statement on Friday that the “map of Islam” had sparked controversy in Austrian public opinion, wondering why this digital map contained only the Islamic community.
Last May, Integration Minister Susan Raab launched a digital map called the “National Map of Islam”.
It includes a list of the names and locations of more than 620 mosques, Muslim associations, and Muslim officials.
The head of Austria’s largest religious community reported that religious affairs and state affairs were separate in Austria.
“I find it dangerous to create a perception that will cause a religious community to be seen as potentially suspicious,” he said.
He stressed that the penal laws against potential extremist and terrorist entities within the political and religious institutions are sufficient in the country, pointing to the possibility of resolving complex issues through dialogue.
In turn, the Turkish ambassador to Vienna, Ozan Gehun, said in a statement to the press that unidentified persons hung provocative anti-Islam banners on the walls of a number of mosques belonging to the Turks in the country, following this digital map.
He explained that the Turkish embassy conveyed these facts to the Austrian authorities, adding: “They were asked to prevent such provocative actions, protect freedom of worship and protect mosques from attacks.”
On Thursday, the controversial “Islam Landkarte” (“Map of Islam”) digital map stopped working in Austria due to a wave of criticism from various circles against the authorities.
And Islamic groups criticized the Austrian government last month, following the launch of a website prepared by the “Documentation Center for Political Islam”, which includes detailed information on Islamic institutions.
After the map work was launched on May 27, extremist right-wing groups hung banners bearing anti-Islam statements on many mosques.