June 28, 2014
Because the fasting month of Ramadan starts today, the ORF tried the enlighten some of its readers, who are not familiar with the Muslim religious tradition. The story tries to show the different ways that Muslims handle the month of Ramadan. For example, the report tells the reader, that because of exceptional rules soccer players do not have to obey rules of fasting during the soccer world cup games.
The far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) has criticized the Austrian national public
broadcaster (ORF)’s documentary program, Am Schauplatz and its producers, Ed Moschitz
and Julia Kovarik, for their recent coverage of a protest against an Islamic centre in Vienna.
The documentary, entitled “The Fear mongers,” follows a pair of right-wing skinheads who
participated in the recent demonstration in Vienna’s Floridsdorf, where the leader of the FPÖ
gave a speech. Moschitz has been accused of biased reporting by the FPÖ, especially following
another report in which skinheads were to be seen attending an FPÖ rally. In response to the
party’s accusation that Moschitz had incited the youths to shout Nazi-slogans, the ORF has made
public all the raw material for the program, in which no such slogans are to be heard.
City council elections in the south-eastern Austrian city of Graz on Sunday failed to result in significant support for a local candidate for the far-right Freedom Party (FP) who had lashed out against Islam in a highly controversial campaign. The top-seeded FP candidate Susanne Winter scored only moderate wins for the party just days after she called the Muslim prophet Mohammed a “child molester” and called for Islam to be pushed “back where it belonged, beyond the Mediterranean Sea. Mohammed’s marriage to a six-year-old girl would make the prophet a paedophile in today’s system, the lawmaker had told a rally. Voters in Graz, however, seemed only moderately impressed by Winter’s Islam-bashing. Official results showed the FP gained 3.1 per cent, but remained below expectations with 11.1 per cent. Various polls had showed the party would score between 10 and 13 per cent. Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache said the FP had reached their goal of getting into the double digits. Winter pursued her campaign “in the face of strong antagonism, defamation and scandalous threats of violence against her,” he was quoted as saying by the Austrian press agency. Winter’s remarks were followed by a public outcry and triggered an intensive debate about Islamophobia in Austria. According to political analysts, the FP’s anti-Muslim campaign was a calculated gambit to appeal both to a radically xenophobe fringe among Austria’s electorate as well as those alienated by immigration. The Islam-bashing turned out a “non-starter” for the rightists, with the conservative People’s Party and the Greens benefiting instead, analyst Wolfgang Bachmayer told the public broadcaster ORF.
Austrian authorities said they arrested a second suspect in an attempted bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Vienna. Police said they took a man into custody in the town of Tulln, about 15 miles west of Vienna. Federal police said they were treating the suspect as a possible accomplice of a Bosnian who was arrested Monday after he tried to enter the embassy with a backpack containing explosives and nails. The Bosnian was arrested after his bag set off a metal detector and the man fled on foot. It was unclear how far he made it into the embassy. Public broadcaster ORF, citing unidentified officials, reported that a metal detector sounded an alarm as the man was passing through security checks and that he fled immediately. Guenther Ahmed Rusznak, a spokesman for Vienna’s Muslim community, issued a statement late Monday condemning the attempted bombing and rejecting radical Islam.