First Published: 2011-06-27


Ex-boxer elected new head of Austria's Muslims


Turkish-born ex-boxing champion announces modern plans for Islamic community in Austria.


Middle East Online

Fuat Sanac

VIENNA - A Turkish-born ex-boxing champion, Fuat Sanac, was elected the head of Austria's Islamic community on Sunday, succeeding Anas Schakfeh after 12 years in the post.

Sanac, 57, was elected by 52 votes to eight.

The former Turkish national boxing champion has been criticised for his ties to Milli Gorus (National Vision), a Turkish expatriate Islamist group suspected of promoting extremism.

But he remains popular within the community and was long favoured to succeed the Syrian Schakfeh, who already announced he would retire in October 2007.

The inspector for Islamic religious studies, who arrived in Austria in 1982 via Germany, has announced plans to modernise the 100,000-strong Islamic community in Austria, including recruiting more female preachers in prayer houses, finding new facilities, and increasing the number of Islamic schools.

Austria counts some 516,000 Muslims.


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