Austrian court rejects complaint by expelled Turkish imams

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BERLIN (AP) — Austria’s Constitutional Court has thrown out a complaint by two Turkish imams expelled under a 2015 law that prevents religious communities from getting funding from foreign nations.

The court said Thursday the so-called “Islam Law” didn’t constitute a disproportionate restriction of religious freedom. It said that protecting religious communities’ independence “from the state, but particularly from other states and their institutions” is a matter of public interest.

Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who as foreign minister in a previous government helped push through the legislation, said Thursday he felt “vindicated” by the court ruling. He said at a European Union summit in Brussels that the law “was heavily criticized, but in reality it was then a model for other European countries.”

The imams were sent by Turkey’s government-overseen religious authority.

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