Suspended Islamic instructor will file a court complaint

The Vorarlberg Islamic instructor whom the Islamic Believers Denomination suspended for public comments about such instruction has said he will file a court complaint. Aly El Ghoubashy was suspended two weeks ago after the Vienna daily “Der Standard” published an interview with him.

In the interview, El Ghoubashy said: “Islamic instruction would be a good opportunity to help young Muslims become integrated into Austrian society, but we Muslims have unfortunately not taken that possibility seriously.” The Islamic Believers Denomination justified El Ghoubashy’s suspension by claiming he had criticised Islamic unity and thereby insulted the denomination. Der Standard reported today (Fri) that El Ghoubashy would file a court complaint against the denomination. The newspaper quoted him as saying he had done nothing more than exercise his right to free speech and his suspension was therefore unjustified. The newspaper also quoted him as saying he would advocate state control of the denomination as a means of building structures that would not be based on arbitrariness. The controversy comes in the wake of negative publicity about Islamic religious instructors after public disclosure of the results of a recent study of their values. A study by Mouhanad Khorchide concluded Muslim teachers in Austria had largely anti-democratic beliefs and one in five is “fanatical”.

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