Muslim Hate in Austria
At least three killed in Austria after man drives into crowd before 'stabbing passers-by' in Graz
SUNDAY 21 JUNE 2015
A seven-year-old boy is reportedly among the three people killed in Austria by a man who ploughed his car into crowds in the country’s second-largest city and then reportedly started stabbing people.
A witness told the Wiener Zeitung newspaper that dead bodies were left lying face down in the road after the vehicle sped through streets near the the historical Herrengasse in Graz.
The killing only stopped when the driver parked his battered car outside a police station.
More than 30 pedestrians, including three children, were hurt at several locations during the rampage and 10 victims were in hospital with serious injuries. One patient was in a critical condition on Saturday afternoon.
The driver, identified by police as a 26-year-old Austrian man of Bosnian heritage, has been arrested. He works as a professional driver and is married with two children.
Police are not currently investigating terrorism as a motive and the suspect is believed to be suffering from mental illness.
Witnesses recounted how the man drove his vehicle into crowds apparently at random, sending pedestrians and cyclists crashing into the windscreen and rolling over the bonnet.
Dr Sea Rotmann, who was nearby, told Sky News: "I had a friend who was there and she saw people flying through the air. She saw bodies lying there, it was absolute chaos and mayhem.
"Apparently the guy was attacking two elderly people with a knife and then attacking police with a knife when he got out."
Police said the stabbing happened outside a grocery shop, where a man was seriously injured and a woman wounded less severely.
The incident started at around 12.15pm local time (11.15am BST), sending screaming shoppers running into shops for safety.
A statement from the city council said: "At 12pm there was an appalling incident in the centre of Graz, which has caused major alarm and left the city deeply shaken.
"A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody."
A spokesperson said the killing spree started in Zweiglgasse, where one person died, and the driver continued through the city and over the Schönaugasse bridge to Herrengasse, ploughing into a cafe seating area in the Hauptplatz (main square).
A witness speaking to the Wiener Zeitung compared the sound of chairs and tables being knocked over by the speeding car to a "gunfight".
The mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl, was riding his Vespa only metres away from the car as it screamed down Zweiglgasse and said he heard a "loud bang" behind him.
He described seeing the vehicle overtake a bus at "extremely high speed" and hit a man, who died at the scene.
Mr Nagl said: "At first I thought it was an accident and the driver would stop, but he carried on purposefully and had deliberately killed the man."
The suspect was caught in a nearby Schmiedgasse, where he stopped his car outside a police station.
Josef Klamminger, the director of police, said the driver's motive was not yet known but he appeared to be "psychotic" following problems at home.
Herrengasse is Graz's main shopping street and the adjoining squares are popular with tourists and diners making the most of the summer with its outdoor cafes and bars.
This afternoon it was lined with 50 ambulances and dozens of police cars as helicopters flew overhead.
Hermann Schützenhöfer, the governor of Styria state, called the driver a "deranged lone assassin".
"We are shocked and dismayed...here is no explanation and no excuse for this attack," he said at a press conference.
"We have much to do to ensure cohesion in our community, which has clearly become difficult for many people. I
appeal to everyone to seek unity in their lives and build bridges, not walls."
The deputy governor, Michael Schickhofer, called the tragedy "incomprehensible" and said he could not express the city's pain.
Wilhelm Krautwaschl, the Bishop of Graz, said he was deeply saddened by the attack.
"Shocked about what happened, I pray for the victims and for those hurrying to help them," he wrote on Facebook.
A memorial service for the victims was due to be held at the Grazer Stadtpfarrkirche at 6pm this afternoon.
The 2015 Austrian Grand Prix is currently being held at the Spielberg Ring about 40 miles from Graz.
Muslim teacher banned over anti-Semitic propoganda
Social Democrat (SPÖ) Education Minister Claudia Schmied has banned a Muslim man
from teaching his religion at a Vienna secondary school after he distributed
anti-Semitic leaflets to pupils.
Schmied ordered the city school council today (Thurs) to take such action against the man, who had been teaching at the Cooperative Secondary School (KMS) on Brüßlgasse in Wien-Ottakring district. She said "delay would be dangerous."
The reason for the ban is the man’s behaviour. He reportedly distributed anti-Semitic leaflets to his students a few days ago. The leaflets contained a list of allegedly "Jewish" firms from which, the man told the students, they should not buy anything.
Teachers of religion are usually appointed and removed by their respective religious associations, but Schmied said the law on religion provided for the minister of education’s intervention in cases in which such teachers violated their legal obligations.
Allowing the man to continue to teach, the minister said, would have caused "serious damage to the interests of the school and the students."
Schmied’s intervention comes in the wake of a study concluding Islamic instruction in Austria has to change to comply with modern standards.
Mouhanad Khorchide is a professor of the sociology of religion at the Islamic Religion and Pedagogical Institute at Vienna University and the author of the new study, "Islamic religious instruction between integration and a parallel society."
Khorchide’s study concludes Muslim teachers in Austria have largely anti-democratic beliefs and one in five is "fanatical".
Khorchide, himself a Muslim, said 22.6 per cent of the 210 Muslim teachers he had surveyed had "fanatical attitudes" and 21.9 per cent rejected democracy as incompatible with Islam.
The older the teacher, Khorchide said, the more likely he was to reject the principle of the rule of law.
According to Vienna weekly "Falter", the study claimed 8.5 per cent of the Muslim teachers said it was understandable for violence to be used to spread Islam, 28.4 per cent said there was a contradiction in being both a Muslim and a European, and 44 per cent said they had to make their students understand they were better than non-Muslims.
In addition, 29 per cent said it was impossible for Muslims to integrate in Austria without losing their Muslim identity, and 55 per cent called Austrians xenophobic.
On the other hand, 85.7 per cent said they did not believe Muslims had to keep to themselves to avoid losing their Muslim identity.
The education Ministry and the Austrian Islamic Denomination recently agreed on a package of changes providing for new contracts for Islamic instructors and new lesson plans for the teaching of Islam in Austrian public schools.