Vienna – A youth leader of the Austrian right-wing Freedom Party was found guilty Monday of inciting religious hatred against Muslims, and received a suspended prison sentence. As the leader of the Freedom Party’s youth organization in Graz, Michael Winter, 20, had suggested in a newsletter last year that that Turkish Muslims were in the habit of committing bestiality. The defendant’s mother Susanne Winter is also set to stand trial this autumn for stating earlier this year that Islam’s prophet Mohammed was a paedophile. She is slated to take a seat in the Austrian parliament after her Freedom Party won 18 per cent of the votes in last week’s elections. The Vienna criminal court sentenced Michael Winter to three months in prison, suspended on probation. The maximum punishment for public incitement or insults against members of specific religions, ethnic groups or countries is two years. The verdict is not yet legally binding: When Susanne Winter was asked in a magazine interview last November if she denounced her son’s statements, she answered that she could provide proof of her son’s allegations against Muslims.
FP_ General Secretary Harald Vilimsky said Wednesday that the Islamic death threat against Graz FP_ politician Susanne Winter had justified her Sunday attack on Islam. Winter had claimed at the FP_’s New Year’s meeting in Graz six days before the municipal election there that the prophet Mohammed had been “a child molester” and written the Koran during “epileptic fits.” A death threat against Winter claiming to be from European Al-Qaeda appeared on the internet on Monday. The head of her party’s list in the January 20 municipal election, she has subsequently received protection from members of the elite Cobra security force. Vilimsky added that the FP_ was awaiting “a clear response” to the death threat from Austrian President Heinz Fischer and SP_ Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer. The party general secretary declared that he would not distance himself from Winter’s remarks and that Austria needed a tougher policy against radical Islam.
A video containing an unspecified threat to Austria was posted on the video-sharing Web site YouTube on Tuesday following anti-Islamic remarks by a hitherto unknown far-right Austrian politician. Police said they were still evaluating the video, but had offered the Graz- based activist, Susanne Winter, personal protection after she denounced Islam’s prophet and Muslim men in general as “child molesters”. Winter had accepted the added protection following her remarks at the weekend, said a spokesman for the interior ministry, Rudolph Gollia. He said the government’s anti-terrorism office was “still in the process of evaluating” the video. Nevertheless, there appeared no reason to increase security in Austria for the time being, Gollia added. The video, lasting four minutes and 48 seconds, contained coverage of a speech Winter made at the traditional New Year’s congress of the populist far-right FPOe party on Sunday. Winter is the FPOe’s candidate for the upcoming municipal elections in the southern city of Graz. The video then showed pictures of the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, and warned: “Look, Susanne, something like this could happen to your country and you are responsible.” “It was a mistake for you to take on … Allah’s warriors,” the video said in German. “We, the Muslims, are those warriors with whom you now have a problem.”