• Austria's news in English
Racism in Austria at its highest level in years
Maria Elena/Flickr

Racism in Austria at its highest level in years

The Local · 22 Mar 2016, 09:59

Published: 22 Mar 2016 09:59 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

An increase in the number of racist remarks made on social media is thought to have contributed to the high figure for 2015.

Last year 927 cases of racism in Austria where registered with ZARA, compared to 794 in 2014 and 731 in 2013. Twenty percent of the incidents in 2015 took place online, compared to 17 percent in the previous year.

Two thirds of the racist remarks or acts referred to refugees, and were directed towards either asylum seekers or people supporting them. The ZARA statistics are only a guide to the extent of racism in Austria as they just reflect the number of incidents that were registered by people with the organisation.

The report, however, supports data released by Austria's police intelligence agency (Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung) last November, which showed they received 1,201 criminal complaints about racist and xenophobic crimes between January and September, compared to 750 in the same period last year - a jump of 60 percent.

Some of the online incidents documented by ZARA included people calling for the re-opening of concentration camps for refugees or posting made up stories. For example, one woman posted that a young sick Austrian was not treated in hospital because it was full of refugees, which was shared 5000 times although the hospital and patient concerned dismissed the story as false.

The organisation also expressed concern at the number of political representatives who were supporting racist ideas, such as banning asylum seekers from swimming pools or promoting anti-Semitic slogans.

Just a few days ago, state prosecutors decided to charge the chairman of a right-wing group that has links to Austria’s Freedom Party with racism and inciting hate against a minority group.

Cases such as workplace discrimination against people with darker skin or who wear headscarves appear in the report every year, as do incidences of every-day racism. Last year, for example, when a black man held the doors of a U-Bahn train open, a Wiener Linier employee announced over the loud-speaker that “we must be considerate of our drug dealer”.

Story continues below…

Journalist Ingrid Brodnig, who has written a book about the topic, says often people can feel they are in the majority when they are make such comments online. She believes it is important that people react to hate comments by voicing alternative opinions.

“Studies since the 1960s show that the moment somebody expresses another opinion to the supposed majority, in that moment where only one voice objects, many people think ‘ah maybe I should think about my words a bit,” she said in an interview with the ORF.

The report follows the introduction earlier this year of stronger penalties for publishing content that incites hatred, now punishable by a jail sentence of up to three years, extended from two.

The stronger punishments have not yet been used, however, as the first two incitement cases that have appeared in court since the changes were made were not deemed serious enough.

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