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Anti-Semitism up by 82 percent in Austria

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12:25 CEST+02:00
The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Austria has nearly doubled since 2014, according to a Jewish organisation in Vienna.

Last year saw 465 incidents involving anti-Semitism, an increase of 82 percent from 2014 when there were 255 incidents, according to The Jewish Community (Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde or IKG).

The data was collected by the non-governmental organisation “Forum gegen Antisemitismus” (Forum against anti-Semitism) and presented by the IKG on Wednesday.

According to the IKG President Oskar Deutsch, the significant increase can be partly accounted for by a large number of anti-Semitic remarks made online.

In 2014, 85 incidents took place online, rising to 205 in 2015.

It is not clear exactly why the numbers have increased so dramatically but Deutsch alluded to the high number of Islamic anti-Semitic remarks.

He called for efforts to tackle this with better integration of migrants into Austria.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, whose remit includes integration, reacted to the report by saying that “Jewish life must be protected in Austria”.

“It is the duty of the state to make Jewish people in Austria feel secure, that is for us as Austria a great responsibility,” he said.

Racism highest in years

The figures presented on Wednesday follow previous suggestions that racist and discriminatory incidents are on the rise in Austria.

Data released by Austria's police intelligence agency (Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung) last November showed a 60 percent increase in criminal complaints about racist and xenophobic crimes between January and September last year.

This was followed by a report from the anti-discrimination organisation ZARA a few weeks ago, which claimed racism is at its highest in Austria for years, with 927 cases of racism registered with them in 2015.

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