Austria mosques guarded after mysterious attack

A rare attack near a mosque in Vienna has prompted Austrian police to increase patrols in areas having Muslim places of worship. The Interior Ministry has decided to intensify police patrols around the city’s 60 mosques.

Police were investigating a mystery explosion near Osman mosque in Vienna on Wednesday, November 16, in which houses and parked cars were damaged. Vienna’s 17th District was rocked by a powerful blast and windows of houses and cars were broken, but no casualties were reported.

“The mosque is not likely to be the target of the bombing,” Turfa Bagaghati, Deputy Chairman of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), said in Friday sermon at the Shura mosque. “If the mosque was the target of the attack, why did not the assailant go directly and throw the bomb inside the mosque instead of a nearby house,” he wondered.

Yet, he made it clear in case the mosque was targeted, Muslims would not remain silent. “We will take positive and peaceful stance by demonstrating and denouncing the attack to let officials know we are not helpless,” he added.

The Islamic Religious Authority, the official Muslim body in Austria, condemned the attack, but said one must not jump to conclusions and wait until the investigation takes its course.

Islam Online, 19 November 2005