VIENNA - A polemic has erupted in Austria between top government officials and the city of Vienna over its Muslim preschools, after a state-funded pilot study released earlier this week warned some were potential hotbeds for the radicalisation of children.

The incendiary findings assessed that the religious education preached by several of the capital’s 150 Muslim establishments led to “theologically-motivated isolation” and robbed children of their autonomy through “intimidation”. While Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz has called for the schools’ “immediate closure”, Vienna city councillors warned of knee-jerk reactions, saying the study had so far only looked at a small number of all Muslim kindergartens.

Kurz was to meet Vienna authorities later Thursday to discuss the situation. The spat feeds into a wider debate about Muslim integration in Austria where the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) is leading the polls following the migrant crisis and Paris attacks.

“What starts in preschools ends up in jihadist terrorist camp,” FPOe spokesman Maximilian Krauss said after the study was published on Monday.

Islamic studies expert Ednan Aslan acknowledged Thursday that his research was still in its early stages, but insisted it was already clear “many preschools had much to hide”. In response to the study, Kurz — who is also Austria’s foreign minister — said “the whole system is a problem, not just isolated cases”.

“If thousands of children in Vienna go to Muslim preschools and only grow up in an Islamic environment, it damages integration and creates parallel societies”, the politician of the conservative OeVP said in an interview on Wednesday. But Vienna city councillor Sonja Wehsely, who belongs to Vienna’s ruling Social Democrats, said Kurz had yet to produce “concrete evidence” of cases.