Controversial New Austrian Reform Amends Country’s 1912 Law on Islam
Feb26

Controversial New Austrian Reform Amends Country’s 1912 Law on Islam

In order to promote what Austria’s conservative Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz calls an “Islam of European character,” the country’s new parliament has amended historical laws with a new bill that requires imams, the officiating priests of Islam, to be able to speak German, and also bans foreign sources of financing, thusly mitigating the influence of foreign Muslim nations. Although the new law gives Austrian Muslims more legal security, Mehmet Gormez, one of the leading Muslim figures in Turkey, has decried Austria’s new law as a “100-year regression,” arguing that there have been no complaints lodged about the fact that Turkey funds many of Austria’s imams. Austria’s current “law on Islam” was first made back in 1912, after the Austro-Hungarian empire annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina. The law, which recognized Islam an official religion in Austria, has been widely used as a model for other European nations. The law’s legal history, which is the study of how law has evolved and why it changed, has now taken a dramatic new turn. Finally being passed after two years, Kurz said the new amendment is to “clearly combat” the growing influence of radical Islam. The timing of the new law is also interesting. Though it’s been in the works long before the recent shootings in France, its passage comes amid estimates that some 200 Austrians have gone to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Additionally, an OGM Institute poll recently found that more than half (58%) of Austrians feel that the “radicalization” of their nation’s Muslims is already underway. Once the law takes effect, Islamic cultural organizations and imams in Austria will no longer be able to receive funding form abroad, and imams will be obliged to be speak German. In order to get licensing, the new law will also require the near 450 Islamic organizations in Austria to demonstrate a “positive approach towards society and the state.” As Kurz explained, “We want a future in which increasing numbers of imams have grown up in Austria speaking German, and can in that way serve as positive examples for young Muslims.” These restrictions have not been placed on any other religion in...

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Two NJ Men Arrested for Attempting To Cover Up DWI Crash By Icing Road
Feb26

Two NJ Men Arrested for Attempting To Cover Up DWI Crash By Icing Road

While the majority of the East Coast is complaining about the current arctic temperatures and constant snowstorms, one New Jersey driver saw the silver lining in such freezing temperatures– unfortunately, it happened to be an illegal silver lining, and he happened to be driving while intoxicated, and the police saw saw right through his plan. According to CBS Local News, Brian Byers of Sparta, NJ, was driving drunk in the early morning hours on Saturday, February 14th, when he “[blew] through a stop sign and [hit] a guard rail at the intersection of Sawmill Road and Woodport Road.” The 20-year-old driver clearly realized that he had made a huge mistake, and his friend Alexander Zambenedetti realized it too — so when Byers fled from the scene of the accident, Zambenedetti drove him back to the 2001 BMW with two five-gallon buckets of water. The pair proceeded to pour the water across the intersection, making it look as though Byers’s car had simply slipped on a patch of black ice. According to the Huffington Post, Sparta Police officer C.J. Grauerholz came upon the scene by accident and saw Byers walking toward Zambenedetti’s idling car. When the officer approached the car, Zambenedetti was sitting in the driver’s seat without a shirt on, even though the current temperature at the time was one degree, and the wind chill was -15 degrees. Officer Grauerholz also happened to notice that the two buckets in the car, which still contained some water. Zambenedetti told the officer that his shirt was soaked with water after he had slipped, but by that point, the scene looked too suspicious, and Byers reportedly ended up confessing to Sparta Police officers later on. CBS News states that both men were arrested. Byers received several charges, including driving while intoxicated (underage), reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident (i.e., hit-and-run), and disorderly conduct “for creating a dangerous condition [for other drivers] by purposely icing the intersection.” Zambenedetti denied involvement in the plan, but reportedly failed multiple sobriety tests and was charged with underage DWI, reckless driving, and driving without wearing a seatbelt. Both Byers and Zambenedetti appeared in Sparta Municipal Court on Thursday, February 19, and pleaded not guilty to the charges. The New Jersey Herald notes that if the men are found guilty, they could each face “fines, loss of driver’s license, and jail...

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