Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who has been known for his anti-Turkey and anti-Islam attitude, has reportedly manipulated scientific research in order to ban all kindergartens that teach children Islamic knowledge. According to a report published in Austrian media on Tuesday, Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz, who is projected to be the next prime minister of the country after the October elections, manipulated a scientific paper to be able to ban all kindergartens in the country teaching children Islamic knowledge.
The Falter news outlet claimed that Kurz changed many sections of a scientific report to manipulate the public opinion. Ednan Aslan, a religious educational theorist assigned by the Austrian Foreign Ministry to prepare a report, allegedly changed parts of his work at Kurz's request.
The Falter report contended that one of the parts in Aslan's work actually said: "Muslim parents sought values such as respect, composure, individuality of the child, hygiene, childhood satisfaction, punctuality, love, warmth and security in the children's schools of Islam for their children, independence and transparency of the rules."
However, Kurz asked Aslan to change the part as following: "It is especially important to them [the families] that the children are taught Islamic values."
The news article claims that Aslan was paid 36,000 euros by the Austrian Foreign Ministry to prepare such a report. The Austrian Foreign Ministry has so far refrained from making a statement. However, Aslan said on social media that he stands fully behind his work.
Kurz told a local newspaper in late June that he wants to shut down all Islamic preschools in the country, claiming that they serve as a barrier to the integration of immigrants.
Replying to a question from the Kurier newspaper on whether these schools should be closed, Kurz said, "Of course, we don't need them. There should be no Islamic kindergartens." Kurz also accused the schools of creating "parallel societies" within Austria.
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has long been calling for the end of the Turkey-EU accession process as well. The anti-Turkey foreign minister urged Brussels to halt EU accession talks with Ankara last year. The Austrian foreign minister also blamed a cyberattack on the foreign ministry's website on Turkey last year.
Commenting on the Falter report, Farid Hafez, an Austrian political scientist, said, "The increasingly restrictive integration policy, which is based on unequal treatment and therefore discrimination against Muslims, shows that it hardly serves the names."
Asserting that the Austrian Integration Ministry has a racism problem, Hafez said: "It is discrimination against minorities, and a power stabilization of the dominant group at the same time - based on negative stereotypes."
* Contributed by Kaan Elbir