Death threats against Vienna's Yazidis

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Death threats against Vienna's Yazidis

Austria’s Federal Office against Terrorism and for Protection of the Constitution (BVT) is alarmed due to death threats against the Yazidi community in Vienna, according to a report in the Kurier newspaper.


It is currently investigating a newly founded scene of radical Islamists whose members support the Syrian-Iraqi terrorist group Islamic State (IS).

Karl-Heinz Grundböck, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told the Austrian Press Agency that the BVT is observing various radical groups, who have been posting threats against the Yazidi on social media.

However, Grundböck said that he did not believe that there was a real threat to the Yazidi community in Austria - and that there was a difference between someone condoning something and actually committing crimes.

About 700 Yazidi are estimated to live in Austria. An activist involved in the Yazidi-initiative WADI, who did not want to be named, told the Kurier that "they all feel threatened." This fear had increased due to the authority's idleness to react to extremists who run about with jihad symbols, he said.

The Kurier previously reported on a group of young migrants in Vienna, mainly from Floridsdorf or Donaustadt, who sympathize with radical groups like IS.

Most of them are believed to be unemployed teenagers, who practise martial arts and spend much of their time radicalising themselves online. The BVT estimates that there are hundreds of them.

The Yazidi community in Iraq is being persecuted by Sunni extremists in their heartland of the Mt Sinjar region west of Mosul. Yazidis revere both the Bible and the Koran, but much of their own tradition is oral.

They are considered heretical devil worshippers by many Muslims. It is not possible to convert to Yazidism, only to be born into it.



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