An Austrian middle school teacher may be facing criminal prosecution for comments which insult Islam as a religion.
Published: 16 May 2016 20:56 CEST
Bregenz. Photo: Friedrich Böhringer/Wikimedia
The female teacher from the Austrian town of Bregenz in Vorarlberg is alleged to have described Mohammed, the prophet and founder of the religion of Islam, as a child molestor, according to a report in Vorarlberg Online.
Provincial education councillor Dr Bernadette Mennel said “yes, there is an allegation against the teacher.”
It was said that the comments came in a classroom, and were witnessed by the woman's students. The school forwarded the complaint officially to the local prosecutors for investigation.
According to Mennel, further information would not be made available until the investigation was completed. “Such statements are unacceptable”, she told local media.
The woman's comments are frequently used by Islamophobes and right-wing activists, and are based on a tradition from some Hadiths that Mohammad consummated his marriage with his youngest wife, Aisha, when she was nine years old.
Many contemporary Muslim scholars refute this, and claim that she was closer to 15 years old. In any case, marriage of underage woman was common during the Middle Ages.
This is not the first time the accusations have been surfaced in Austria, as in 2009 a member of the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), Susanne Winter, was convicted of religious incitement for making similar comments. Winter was officially expelled from the FPÖ in November for making anti-Semitic comments.
Austrian government comes under fire over ‘Islam map’
The Austrian government came under fire on Thursday for a new "Islam map" showing the location of mosques and associations around the country, with religious groups saying it would stigmatise Austria's Muslim population.
Published: 28 May 2021 11:32 CEST
Austrian Integration Minister Susanne Raab unveiled the controversial website. (JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Integration Minister Susanne Raab unveiled an internet website earlier called the “National Map of Islam” with the names and locations of more than 600 mosques, associations and officials and their possible links abroad.
However, the interactive map — compiled in collaboration with the University of Vienna and the Documentation Centre of Political Islam — alarmed many of Austria’s Muslims and the ruling centre-right ÖVP party’s coalition partner, the Greens, also distanced itself from it.
Map demonstrates ‘intent to stigmatise all Muslims’
The IGGÖ Muslim representative council said in a statement that it “demonstrates the government’s manifest intent to stigmatise all Muslims as a potential danger”.
The Green party’s spokeswoman for integration Faika El-Nagashi complained that “no Green minister or MP was involved or even told about it.
“The project mixes Muslims with Islamists and is the contrary to what integration policy should look like.”
Map not meant to ‘place Muslims in general under suspicion’
Raab insisted that the map was not meant to “place Muslims in general under suspicion”.
The aim was “to fight political ideologies, not religion,” she said. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has regularly criticised what he calls “political Islam”.
“Imagine if a similar map was drawn up for Judaism or Christianity,” said Tarafa Baghajati, the head of another Muslim organisation, complaining that it equated terrorism with religion.
He pointed out that around eight percent of Austria’s overall population of 8.9 million were practising Muslims and most of them had no links with such organisations. “It’s worrying and I’m disappointed with the government for adopting far-right ideas,” he said.
Rise reported in attacks against Muslims
Since a jihadist attack left four people dead in Vienna last November — the first to be carried out in Austria — a rise has been reported in the number of incidents in verbal and physical attacks against Muslims in the country. IGGÖ complained that “racism against Muslims is growing”.