• Austria's news in English

'Extremism hotline' swamped with calls

The Local · 21 Jan 2015, 12:23

Published: 21 Jan 2015 12:23 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Families Minister Sophie Karmasin (ÖVP) said that she was “surprised” by the high number of calls and that in three cases the Federal Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (BVT) had been informed. She said that 28 of the calls related to concrete suspicions of extremist activity.

She added that a similar hotline in Germany receives only around 500 calls a year.

The high level of calls in Austria showed that there was “a real need” for such a centre, and was also perhaps due to the fact that the centre is not linked to the police so is less intimidating, Karmasin added.

Twenty-eight calls were from concerned parents, and the rest were from teachers or social workers. Twenty-seven cases related to religiously motivated extremism and one case to right-wing extremism.

The remaining calls concerned general queries on the subject of extremism, Karmasin said. Seventeen cases involved boys, and 11 cases pertained to girls. The majority of calls (45) came from Vienna, and were mostly from women.

Recent events, such as the arrest of two girls who intended to travel to Syria, or the arrest of a boy who plotted a terror attack in Vienna, have caused concern for parents with children of a similar age, Karmasin said.

She added that the recent shootings in Paris seemed to have given people “a new sense of urgency”.

Verena Fabris, the head of the counselling centre, spoke of a mother who called because she was concerned about her daughter, who had converted to Islam and married a Salafist. However, she has since distanced herself from extremists. Fabris said that often it’s not just about religion, but about young people trying to establish their identity.

The centre also runs training workshops and distributes educational material on how to spot potential radicalization.

Story continues below…

The advice is free and anonymous and all calls and emails will be treated in confidence. The number for the hotline is 0800 20 20 44. It is staffed Monday to Friday from 10am to 3pm.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Verdict on swimming pool rape case overturned
The Theresienbad swimming pool in Vienna. Photo: Wikimedia

An Iraqi refugee who was jailed after claiming it was a sexual emergency when he raped a boy in a swimming pool has had the sentence overturned.

Vienna Comic Con promises to be 'bigger and more galactic'
Cosplay star Yaya Han. Copyright: Yaya Han/Bryan Humphrey

Comic Con returns to the Austrian capital on November 19th-20th at the Messe Wien.

Three refugees arrested on drugs charges
Cannabis plants. Photo: J. Patrick Bedell/Wikimedia

A gang of three Afghani drug dealers has been busted in Vienna.

Hungarian woman crushed by snowcat piste machine
Snowcat machine. Photo: Melensdad/Wikimedia

A young Hungarian woman has died after being crushed by a snowcat piste machine on the Dobratsch mountain in Carinthia.

Austrian policeman sentenced over 'Heil Hitler' salute
Photo: Flickr

A policeman in Austria was sentenced on Thursday for shouting "Heil Hitler" at a driver during a traffic check at the Hungarian border in April.

Scary clown craze endangers crucial work of clown 'doctors'
Photo: Bojan Tavcar

Within the last couple weeks, disturbing events involving masked individuals has caught public attention in Austria.

Chimney sweep rescues lost mushroom picker
Photo: James Lindsey/Wikimedia

A 76-year-old Austrian man who went out mushroom picking almost froze to death after getting lost and spending the night in the forest.

Refugees sold into forced prostitution
File photo: UNHCR

Female refugees are being sold into forced prostitution in Austria, a police investigation into human trafficking has found.

Driverless bus takes a spin around Salzburg's old town
The Arma driverless shuttle bus. Photo: Navya

A driverless minibus has made a test journey in the city of Salzburg.

No jail time for asylum seeker who dumped baby in road
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A man who grabbed his own child and dumped her in the middle of a busy road has been given a nine-month suspended sentence.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available