The Austrian government is considering outlawing a four-fingered salute representing support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan popularized it and began using it after Egypt's military toppled the Brotherhood in 2013.
Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers around the world use the image on websites, posters and literature. If the ban is approved, anyone in Austria who flashes the salute could be fined $4,600.
It also has been used by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the United States, including members of Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ) and former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Mohamed Elibiary.
Erdogan's role in popularizing the gesture seems to be driving the Austrian ban. It also would outlaw a wolf-head like salute used by the pro-Erdogan Turkish fascist group the Grey Wolves. Its most infamous member, Mehmet Ali Agca, tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981. The Wolves have become some of Erdogan's greatest non-Islamist supporters and aim to unify all Turkic peoples in Turkey across and throughout Central Asia into a single nation.
It was the only group besides Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that backed constitutional changes allowing him to consolidate power.
So far Turkey hasn't responded.
Relations between Austria and Turkey have become tense due to reports that Erdogan's intelligence agency, the MIT, spied on Erdogan's enemies in Austria. In February 2017, a member of Austria's Green Party alleged that an umbrella organization headed by the Turkish embassy's religious attaché had carried out spy operations in Austrian mosques.
Turkey was inserting "unacceptable Turkish government politics in Austria," said Green Party member Peter Pilz.
Austria closed seven Turkish-linked mosques in June due to concerns over political Islam. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz complained about "parallel societies, political Islam and radicalisation." The Turks responded by accusing the Austrians of racism. The imams were paid by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, also called the Diyanet. It has a close relationship with Turkey's MIT intelligence agency.