Austria: New Government to Resist “Islamization”
- A coalition between the anti-immigration Austrian People’s Party and the anti-establishment Austrian Freedom Party, which will be sworn into office on December 18, is poised to catapult Austria to the vanguard of Western Europe’s resistance to mass migration from the Muslim world.
- The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. Austria has also emerged as a major base for radical Islam.
- “We have a lot in common [with Israel]. I always say, if one defines the Judeo-Christian West, then Israel represents a kind of border. If Israel fails, Europe fails. And if Europe fails, Israel fails.” — Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party.
The anti-immigration Austrian People’s Party and the anti-establishment Austrian Freedom Party have reached a deal, creating a new coalition to govern Austria for the next five years. The ground-breaking political alliance, which will be sworn into office on December 18, is poised to catapult Austria to the vanguard of Western Europe’s resistance to mass migration from the Muslim world.
Chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz, 31, who won Austria’s national election on October 15 after campaigning on a promise to halt illegal immigration, will govern with Heinz-Christian Strache, 48, the Freedom Party leader, who has warned that mass migration is “Islamizing” Austria. Under the agreement, Strache will become the vice-chancellor; the Freedom Party will also take control of the ministries of defense, interior and foreign affairs.
|Austrian Chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz (pictured), who won Austria’s national election after campaigning on a promise to halt illegal immigration, will govern with Heinz-Christian Strache, 48, the Freedom Party leader, who has warned that mass migration is “Islamizing” Austria. (Image source: Raul Mee/EU2017EE/Flickr)|
Kurz has been a strong critic of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy, which has allowed more than a million mostly male migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to enter the country during the past two years.
During his time as foreign minister, Kurz was instrumental in garnering parliamentary approval of a groundbreaking new law that regulates the integration of immigrants. The so-called Integration Law — which bans full-face Muslim veils in public spaces and prohibits Islamic radicals from distributing the Koran — establishes clear rules and responsibilities for recognized asylum seekers and refugees granted legal residence in the country.
The new law requires immigrants from non-EU countries to sign an “integration contract” which obligates them to learn written and spoken German and to enroll in courses about the “basic values of Austria’s legal and social order.” Immigrants are also required to “acquire knowledge of the democratic order and the basic principles derived from it.”
Previously, Kurz was instrumental in reforming Austria’s century-old Islam Law (Islamgesetz), governing the status of Muslims in the country. The new law, passed in February 2015, is aimed at integrating Muslims and fighting Islamic radicalism by promoting an “Islam with an Austrian character.” It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.
Austria’s Muslim population now exceeds 700,000 (or roughly 8% of the total population), up from an estimated 340,000 (or 4.25%) in 2001, and 150,000 (or 2%) in 1990, according to data compiled by the University of Vienna.
The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, where the Muslim population now exceeds 12.5%, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools. Muslim students are also on the verge of overtaking Catholics in Viennese elementary schools.
At the same time, Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam. Austria’s Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (BVT) has warnedof the “exploding radicalization of the Salafist scene in Austria.” Salafism is an anti-Western ideology that seeks to impose Islamic Sharia law.
“The immigration seen in recent years is changing our country not in a positive but in a negative way,” said Kurz, who campaigned on a “law and order” platform: “Uncontrolled immigration destroys the order in a country.”
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Featured image courtesy of REUTERS / Leonhard Foeger