The Shiite mosque was to be built on a commercial property owned by Iran. However, the use of land for religious purposes is prohibited there.

shiite mosque austria

The planned relocation of a Shiite mosque association from Vienna-Mariahilf to Floridsdorf encounters resistance from the city of Vienna and the federal government, reports the “Kurier” (Wednesday edition). The “Islamic Culture Center Imam Ali” was to be relocated to a commercial property owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, its use for religious purposes is prohibited there.

The center was located in the past in the Mollardgasse, the previous year, the property was sold in the sixth district. According to reports, it was planned to move the entire stock into a former office building in Richard-Neutra-Gasse in Floridsdorf – including prayer rooms. But in April 2018, the Viennese building police refused the construction of a mosque on the property in Leopoldauer industrial park. There, only commercial use is possible, and not a religious, explained department head Gerhard Cech.

However, it is likely that the Imam Ali Mosque relied on the support of the Iranian embassy on this point. The latter bought the property by more than 2.5 million euros – with the knowledge of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thus, thought the club board, all formalities would be done, insiders report by “Kurier”.

However, the new address is by no means an extraterritorial area. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the office “serves no diplomatic purposes.” Therefore, here are “no privileges or immunities” given. Accordingly, the property is still subject to the Vienna Land Use Plan. On suspicion, one will carry out on-site inspections, announces Baupolizei boss Cech. In unlawful use threatened money and in case of recurrence, imprisonment.

“The fact is that this is an industrial area and a zoning is not out of humor and madness,” emphasizes District Governor Georg Papai (SPÖ). The mosque club had not yet sought the interview with him. “My door is open,” he says.