Election Campaign with a Veil

3 October 2010
Both the Social Democratic Part of Austria (SPÖ) as well as the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), the two largest political parties of the country, have included conservative headscarf-wearing women on their electoral lists for the upcoming Viennese elections.
In both cases the women are so far down on the list that they are sure not become part of the new Viennese council; however, in the case of the SPÖ candidate Gülsüm Namaldi, her conservative religious views and support for Turkish-language education has attracted criticism. Meanwhile the leader of the Viennese ÖVP, Christine Marek, called for the “acceptance of the veil as a normal situation” in an interview with the migrant magazine “Biber,” in which she poses with ÖVP’s headscarf-wearing candidate, Sara Rahman.

From “Jewishization” to the “Islamist Party”

23 September 2010

In this opinion piece, Farid Hafez compares the anti-Jewish strategies that were pursued at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th and the current Islamophobic strategies of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ).
Aside from advocating the direct control of the sermons being preached in synagogues, right-wing parties argued for greater control of the architecture of religious building and called for the assimilation of the “unintegratable” Jews – all themes very similar to the headlines concerning Muslims today.
The last few months have also given rise to a new development: the leader of the FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache, recently called the Social-Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) an “Islamist Party,” thereby echoing his predecessors who, one century ago, also warned of the “Jewishization” of the Social-Democratic Worker’s Party (SDAP).
Finally, the FPÖ has managed to revive old conspiracy fears, unveiling election placards that warn that the SPÖ is “for obligatory headscarves and thus is encouraging the oppression of women.” This all presented as operating alongside international Islamic terrorism, just as the “international Jewry” was presented as a threat one hundred years ago.

Interview with German MP Sebastian Edathy on Muslim and immigration issues

In an interview, conducted by Euro-Muslims Editorial Desk, Mr. Sebastian Edathy shares his views on immigrant and particularly Muslim participation in German politics. Edathy is a German MP of Indian origins and member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Asked about the withering support of Muslims for the Social Democratic Party, Edathy claims legislation changes in family reunification responsible, which requires family members to learn basic German before joining their partners in Germany. Regarding reasons for Islamophobia, Edathy thinks that much is owed to the linking of “Islamic” and “Islamist”, i.e. the equation of religion and fundamentalism.

Despite Objections to Size, Cologne Approves Mosque

Cologne’s city council has approved building plans for what is slated to be Germany’s largest mosque. Politicians hope the structure’s glass design and bilingual program will help integrate the Islamic community. Cologne’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Left Party all voted for the construction of the mosque, which will include two minarets that stretch 55 meters (180 feet) into the sky, the Associated Press reported. Mayor Fritz Schramma was the only Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member to approve the plans. The rest of his party has criticized the mosque’s design as being “too imposing.” Builders from the Governing Body of the Turkish-Islamic Union (DiTiB) will construct the structure with a 37-meter high dome in the city district of Ehrenfeld.