Austria Plagued with Islamic Controversy
Posted on: 2009-08-23 17:25:27
The Coming Crackdown
Austrian authorities have prosecuted the leader of the right leaning Freedom Party of Austria for inciting religious hatred, but some say the move sacrifices people’s freedom of speech.
In 2008, Susanne Winter became a hate figure among much of Europe’s Muslim community.
She told her fellow members at the right-leaning Freedom Party of Austria that, if the Prophet Mohammed were alive today, he would be considered a child molester. Austria, she warned, faced an “Islamic immigration tsunami”.
“Over the past 10 years we've become the third largest party in Austria, so I know people agree with us. ‘Mainstream’ parties are trapped by political correctness. We don’t play on fears, we raise the genuine concerns of normal people,” Winter says.
Austria’s politicians and its president, however, were swift in their condemnation. A two-year suspended sentence for inciting religious hatred and a €24,000 fine followed.
Austria’s Muslims feel bolstered by her punishment, a victory in the fight against what they call an increasingly dangerous trend spreading across the continent.
“The new cultural racism is Islamophobia. In this sense we are concerned about the situation in Europe, but especially also in our country Austria,” Tarafa Baghajati from the Initiative of Muslim Austrians says.