Justice minister Claudia Bandion-Ortner (ÖVP) wants crimes committed for religious reasons to be considered as crimes committed under aggravated circumstances, requiring the courts to impose more severe punishment. However, she rejects new criminal offenses or more severe punishment for forced marriages (which is already a crime) or honor murder, saying a murder is a murder and the courts can't impose more than a life sentence.

Bandion-Ortner does want to amend the law so that religious motives will not serve as mitigating circumstances. Behavior which aims to impose another way of life, not compliant with Austrian society, could serve as aggravating circumstances. Bandion-Ortner named as an example parents who for religious reasons do not send their children to school or prevent contact with men. Any form of religious-based violence would serve for aggravated circumstances, not only in the context of Islam. The minister stressed that this would also count for dangerous threats by Christian fundamentalists against abortion clinics.

Bandion-Ortner says the proposed amendment is not a response to a recent case in which a Turk attacked his wife for wanting to divorce him. In that case the murderer was sentenced to attempted manslaughter and not attempted murder. The court said it could understand that he was very emotional, but Bandion-Ortner says there were other reasons for charging manslaughter in that case.

She says this is not a repeat of the 'cultural crimes' debate from two years ago, since her proposal, unlike that of Interior Minister Maria Fekter, will not define new crimes.

The Social Democrats rejected the proposal. Party justice spokesperson Hannes Jarolim insists on separation of Church and State, and says that religious reasons for crimes can not serve as either mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

The Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) welcome the proposal. Additionally, Sunsanne Winter (FPÖ) calls for more shelters for immigrant women and Ewald Stadler (BZÖ) calls for stricter regulations for disparaging religious teachings. The Greens, on the other hand, warn against the creation of 'cultural crimes'

The Islamic community (IGGiÖ) also criticizes the proposal. Spokesperson Carla Amina Baghajati said the choice of words was misleading and counterproductive and that acts such as forced marriage, honor murders and FGM are not legitimized by religion in any way.
http://islamineurope.blogspot.com/20...re-severe.html