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Muslim leader moots anti-discrimination law

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Muslim leader moots anti-discrimination law
Sunni muslim leader Fuat Senac. Photo: APA (Archiv/Fohringer)
14:54 CEST+02:00
The president of the publicly recognised Austrian Islamic Community (IGGiOe), Fuat Senac, wants a law penalizing discrimination against Islam.

"If someone is attacked because of his religion, this will have to be punished", he said on Monday to the news daily "Kurier". Besides that he wanted some sort of service point to listen to complaints from those being offended.

However, Muslims have a better life in Austria than in many other countries, he said. Senac criticised Efgani Doenmez, a member of the second chamber of parliament (Bundesrat) of the Greens Party.  Doenmez had urged the government to prevent women wearing a burqa from receiving social grants.

"Such statements do damage to the whole of society, as this creates unrest", he said.  Everybody may have his own opinion, but nobody should incite one group against another, Senac added.

Islam is the second most widely professed religion in Austria, practiced by seven percent of the total population according to 2010 estimates. The vast majority of Muslims in Austria belong to the Sunni denomination. Most Muslims came to Austria during the 1960s as migrant workers from Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are also communities of Arab and Pakistani origin.

Europe has struggled with a rising tide of anti-Islamic discrimination and even violence in recent years, and certain Austrian politicians have tried to ban Islamic veils, such as the burqa.


Austria's Freedom Party failed in its bid to ban the burqa.  Photo: Patrick Denker/Flickr

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