Islamophobia colours Austrian elections

Islamophobia is coloring the election campaigns of right-leaning parties, vying to court the votes of anti-immigrant voters in the October parliamentary polls. “Far-right candidates play Islamophobia and xenophobia because they do not have real political programs,” Tarafa Baghajati, Deputy Chairman of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), told

Amid the aggressive campaigns, an explosive charge was planted outside the Austrian Muslim Youth (MJO) building in Vienna on Monday, but it was destroyed in a controlled explosion. A neo-Nazi slogan found on the package read “July 4 1926, Weimar” – an apparent reference to a key meeting that allowed Hitler to increase his control over the Nazi party.

In pamphlets widely circulated in the streets and election booths, the Freedom Party (FPÖ) dismisses Islam as a threat to the Christian identity of Austria. It claims that several parties, which it did not name, were trying to Islamize Europe and render its natives a minority in their own countries.

One of the FPÖ ads replaces the cross atop the famous Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, the oldest church in the country, with an Islamic crescent with the comment: “This is the true hidden desire of Muslims.” Another one shows a group of hijab-clad woman with a comment that Austria must be a social state not a country of immigrants.

Islam Online, 14 September 2006